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Consumer Reports: Is plant based meat worth the hype?

Posted at 7:31 AM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 09:36:08-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — With summer weather comes the tradition of the backyard barbeque. Burgers. Hot dogs. Plant-based meats?

That’s right. As more people try to get more veggies and less meat on their plates, these faux meats may end up on the grill.. But do they taste any good?

“Our panel of tasters thought none were identical to real meat, but some came close," said Amy Keating, Consumer Reports Nutritionist. "We actually found at least one in each category to be very good.”

CR’s panelists found the Impossible and Beyond brands to be the most meat-like among the burgers.

Impossible’s Chicken Nuggets came the closest to tasting like a typical chicken nugget.

Now the main reason many people might consider switching to eating plant-based meats is because they think it’s healthier. Is that true?

“While many of the products we tested had fewer calories and less artery-clogging saturated fat, most had more sodium than real meat," Keating said. "And Americans already consume too much sodium.”

A closer look at the ingredients will reveal that even though these foods are plant-based they are still ultra-processed.

“The evidence supporting “plant based” diets points to eating more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, tofu and beans and these mock meats are more processed and are not whole foods,” she said.

Many of these plant-based meats also claim to be better for the environment. While that may be true, CR points out that eating grass-fed animals raised on sustainable farms may also be beneficial for the environment.

Bottom line - these plant-based meats are a mixed bag. While they aren’t the healthiest of foods, they can be a good thing if you are having trouble giving up red meat.