• Anthony Puharich

Real is Real

As the number of people eating meat-free diets rises – as does the availability of meat-free products – this seemingly healthy alternative isn’t all it seems, new data reveals.

Fake meat, imitation bacon and falafels are now common sights on supermarket shelves, their packaging often promoting them as a healthy alternative to their animal-based counterpart. Many fast-food restaurants have jumped on the bandwagon, offering vegetarian and vegan alternatives.

The Heart Foundation last week released the results of a survey of more than 550 meat-alternative products, finding most of them were highly processed and containing dangerously high salt levels. The foundation analysed the products’ nutrition contents, in an undertaking in conjunction with The George Institute for Global Health and VicHealth.

People often perceive these products to be healthier for us because they are meat-free plant-based alternatives. The experts call this ‘the health halo effect’, I simply call it ignorance.

I could have saved the Heart Foundation a bunch of work and money, their findings were a blinding flash of the obvious (BFO!). And to be honest, I find these organisations vague and antiquated in their thinking and research e.g. “What our research uncovers is that these meat-free products are still packaged and processed foods containing variable amounts of salt. So, consumers need to check their nutritional labels and chose the option with the lowest sodium content if they want to choose a healthy option”.

Here’s an idea Heart Foundation, how about recommending people eat real plants and animals, produced by ethical farmers, using sustainable farming practices.

Let’s get real about this issue, you will never get healthy eating processed food (nor will the planet benefit from your well intentioned, but naïve decisions). Real is real!

Until next week, stay healthy


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