Imitation meat often takes the shape of products like burger patties, hotdogs, ground beef, and chicken nuggets. At first glance, you wouldn’t believe that this so-called fake meat wasn’t made of actual beef, pork, or chicken. The taste and texture may not be exactly the same, but some products are surprisingly convincing.
Is imitation meat actually healthy?
While it has been established that vegetables are higher in fiber and vitamins and lower in fat and cholesterol when compared to animal meat, does that automatically make imitation meat healthy? Despite its benefits, fake meat is considered a highly processed food.
Processed food is considered bad or unhealthy because it loses some of the nutritional values of its ingredients during production. To make imitation meat products more “meaty,” manufacturers mix in plenty of additives and fillers. Some of these additives include:
A typical vegan burger may have the same amount of protein as a beef patty; however, due to all the processing and additives, it actually has more sodium than meat and less fiber than unprocessed vegetables.
Additionally, more oil, sauce, and toppings may be added to a plant-based burger than to a beef-based one. All of these added calories can definitely sneak up on you if you are not careful.