Low nutritional quality of meat substitutes, according to new studies

A study published in the journal Nutrients shows that many of the meat substitutes sold in Sweden claim to be high in iron, but in a form that the body cannot absorb.

A diet made up largely of plant-based foods, such as root vegetables, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, is associated with health benefits. But there have been many studies on how people’s health is affected by the consumption of products based on what are known as textured vegetable proteins.

The study, produced by Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, analyzes 44 different meat substitutes sold in Sweden, showing that the estimated absorption of iron and zinc from the products was extremely low. This is because these meat substitutes contained high levels of phytates, antinutrients that inhibit the body’s absorption of minerals.

Phytates form insoluble compounds with essential dietary minerals, especially non-heme iron (iron found in plant foods) and zinc, which means they cannot be absorbed in the intestine.


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