If a healthy diet is the goal, ultra-processed plant-based meat is not the solution.
According to new polling from the Center for Consumer Freedom, 73 percent of nutritionists do not recommend consuming “plant-based” meat. When asked to describe their feelings toward synthetic meat, nutritionists recommend sticking with real meat and whole vegetables, rather than ultra-processed fake meat.
On their face, plant-based diets sound healthy. But in practice, vegan diets lack many key nutrients needed for proper growth and development. Two separate studies, one analyzing synthetic beef and one analyzing synthetic chicken, revealed that protein in imitation meat cannot be absorbed into the body as well as the real thing.
Moreover, many “plant-based” imitation meat products are ultra-processed, meaning they carry high amounts of sodium and artificial ingredients. In the survey, nutritionists reported that they advise only consuming ultra-processed foods in moderation.
The survey, which was conducted from August 26 to September 13, included responses from more than 300 nutritionists nationwide. Here are the stand-out figures:
- 40% of nutritionists said eating real meat in moderation is a better choice than plant-based alternatives while 33% said it’s better to simply eat more vegetables than buy highly processed plant-based meats if people want to trim meat from their diets.
- Just 26% of nutritionists agreed with the statement, “Plant-based meats are a healthy option and provide a way for people to cut meat from their diets and still get protein.”
- 93% of nutritionists reported that they would not recommend a vegan diet for children.
- 77% of nutritionists would not recommend a vegan diet to a professional athlete.
- 62% of nutritionists said they try to “minimize” their consumption of ultra-processed foods.
This polling comes as cities and states throughout the country have begun transitioning toward plant-based school lunches. New York City, for example, implemented “Vegan Fridays” featuring soggy salads while California announced it would be spending $700 million to expand the plant-based menus in public schools.
Review the full survey results here.