The Environmental Impact of Animal Products
Meat alternative patties have been growing in popularity as the country turns a critical eye towards the meat industry. In our previous post about the top reasons for adopting a plant-based diet, the conservation of species and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are large motivating factors for many eco-conscious people.
Reducing meat instead of completely cutting it out entirely is a realistic goal for many people who want to help contribute to a eco-friendlier future. There are many studies indicating the resource practices required to sustain and meet the rising demand for meat across the world are intensive. A significant amount of grain for feed and water are needed in order to produce the amount of beef that the world demands. Beef has received much of the blame as it is the costliest meat to produce since cows require much more land and resources than chickens or pigs.
This was the environmental impetus to create alternatives to beef patties that taste good, provide a similar flavor, and could potentially help people transition to a more plant-based and eco-friendly lifestyle.
However, if you’ve been a meat-eater all of your life, reducing your consumption may not be easy. To make this transition palatable, the alternatives need to be appetizing and have a similar taste and texture to meat. This sounds hard to achieve but it’s most likely because you have not tried Dr. Praeger’s Perfect Burger. This plant-based patty has delicious flavor, juiciness, and satisfying texture, with none of the beef, of course! The Perfect Burger is powered by pea protein, includes sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash and beets, and is made with sunflower oil.
Are Animal Products Bad for Your Health?
New studies show that consuming meat in moderation is not as harmful as it was made out to be in the past few decades. However, moderation is key, as well as keeping in mind that overeating animal meat can still bring about negative health changes—particularly high cholesterol and inflammation. Red meat contains saturated fat which elevates blood cholesterol levels and could put you at risk for heart disease. Studies also show that red meat intake is associated with higher levels of inflammatory markers like c-reactive protein (CRP), which means that red meat intake can increase the risk for type II diabetes. So, what does moderation mean in terms of red meat consumption? The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends limiting consumption of meat to no more than three portions or 12-18 oz. of cooked meat per week.
Highly processed meats can have a detrimental effect on your health, such as increased cancer risk, due to high sodium and preservatives. Processed meats, including sausages, hot dogs, salami, ham, cured bacon, corned beef, smoked meat, dried meat, canned meat, and beef jerky, offer ease and convenience. However, registered dietitians recommend limiting processed meats as much as possible or avoiding them altogether.
Animal products such as dairy and meats offer some health benefits but come at a cost depending on how much of them you consume and—in the case of meat, the quality and origin of the meat. Certain products such as eggs have been mistakenly labeled for unhealthy in the past but are now considered to be a very nutritious source of many key vitamins and minerals. Research has shown that most of the cholesterol in our body doesn’t come from the cholesterol that we eat but is produced in our liver. The liver makes cholesterol primarily through the saturated fat and trans fat in our diet, not dietary cholesterol. A large egg contains only about 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and research has confirmed that eggs also contain many healthy nutrients such as lutein and choline. Having eggs in moderation can be part of a healthy and balanced diet. However, it’s important to think about what you pair your eggs with—is it butter and bacon or avocado and fruit? Increasing your consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats is key to avoiding elevated blood cholesterol. Studies posit that the typical Western diet which consists of heavy meat and refined grains consumption is very inflammatory and leads to a significantly increased risk for cancer as well as cardiovascular disease.
Plant-Based Alternatives to Animal Products
The nutrients that animal products provide, such as protein and iron, can be obtained without eating meat. Meat is non-essential in our diet from a nutrition perspective and a plant-based diet is known to have greater health benefits. Plant-based patties such as Dr. Praeger’s Perfect Burger provides a similar nutritional value as beef patties with 20 grams of protein per serving, 13 grams of fat, and 5.2 mg of iron—which is about 30 percent of the daily value.
The best thing about a plant-based diet is that you can apply a very flexible approach to eating. It’s important to remember that even reducing your consumption of animal products can have significant benefits to your health, as well as to the environment.
Dr. Praeger’s is here to help! Products like our Perfect Burger, Perfect Turk’y Burger, and Classic Chick’n Tenders provide a hefty serving of pea-protein and nutrients such as iron that are important for daily health. Through our product offerings, we look to provide foods that are healthy, tasty, and appropriate for a diverse variety of nutritional and dietary needs.