Vegetarian diet: several nutrients missing in meat substitutes

MN Report 01:43 PM, 16 Dec, 2022
Vegetarian diet: several nutrients missing in meat substitutes

SWEDEN: Vegetarian diets include several meat substitutes in order to provide similar nutrient packages. However, researchers are exploring the benefits and drawbacks of including meat substitutes in vegetarian diets.

Meat usually contains protein (a substance made of amino acids), for those that have adopted a vegetarian diet, protein can be incorporated into the diet by having, soy beans, lentils, and eggs etc.

Plant-based protein foods can have multiple benefits such as the improvement of health and being environmentally friendly.

T​his research, conducted by researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, analyzed the nutritional value of more than 40 meat substitutes, recording each in several components such as fiber, fat, protein, and salt content.

It was recorded that while meat substitutes may contain iron and zinc, the human body cannot utilize these nutrients, due to a compound called phytate. Phytate interferes with the body's metabolisis to absorb iron and zinc, present in the meat substitutes.

Lead author of the study Mayer Labba, said that 'Meat substitutes such as sausages, balls, and burgers based on plant protein extracts, which currently is the most common raw material for meat substitutes, have a very low bioavailability of minerals such as iron and zinc.

This is due to a very high content of the antinutrient phytate, which is accumulated during protein extraction. Iron is also accumulated during the process, but it is not absorbable due to the high presence of phytate.'