Debunking Some Widely-Believed Planted-Based Protein Myths

December 3, 2019

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It seems like almost every animal protein product now has a "plant-based" counterpart, which is going beyond the supermarket and into the world of fast food. You can find plant-based fried "chicken" at KFC, plant-based Beyond Meat breakfast sandwiches at Dunkin Donuts, and the Impossible Whopper at Burger King. If you're lactose intolerant or vegan, you may welcome this greater availability of plant-based options. But are they always the healthier choice for everyone? The answer is complicated, at least according to some nutrition experts, because there are a lot of assumptions and not-so-truthful information. So let's tackle some of the big topics for the answers. First, plant-based foods are completely natural and not processed. The assumption here is that processed foods are bad for you and for some instances, it is not.  "Processed" is defined by the government as “any raw agricultural commodity” that has been canned, cooked, frozen, milled, or dehydrated. So, technically, frozen chicken breast and dried beans are processed. As with all foods, check the label for the ingredients and choose ones with the smaller list. Another myth is all plant-based foods contain fewer calories and less fat. While a four-ounce Beyond Burger contains 2 grams of fiber, it has 250 calories, 18 grams of fat and 20 grams of protein. By comparison, a 4.5-ounce beef burger has 212 calories, 14 grams of fat and 21 grams of protein. The numbers are similar and taking in fat is good for you, you can gain weight on a plant-based diet as you would on a meat diet. Rather consider making other lifestyle changes for your entire diet rather than just replacing one type of burger with another. Finally, when it comes to plant-based protein, all that matters is the amount. Not true. A bodybuilder can only eat chicken as a protein source and still be nutrient deficient. Same goes for plant-based eaters. If a plant-based advocate eats only tofu, black beans, or seitan, you can lack the adequate nutrients you need. For this reason, it is recommended to eat a variety of protein sources—regardless of if you're omnivorous, vegetarian, or vegan. That's because different foods provide your body with different nutrients. It's not all about protein. It's about the gut-filling fiber in whole grains, the heart-healthy fats in nuts, the disease-fighting antioxidants in fruit, and so much more.

SOURCE: Men's Health

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