September 21, 2023

Very low dietary high quality in vegetarian meat su

impression: Captions: Dr Cecilia Mayer Labba, The Section of Biology and Organic Engineering, Chalmers University of Technological innovation.
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Credit score: Credit rating: Martina Butorac/Chalmers

The availability of food items primarily based on plant proteins to substitute for meat has elevated significantly as more folks pick a plant-dependent diet plan. At the same time, there are many worries concerning the dietary value of these goods. A examine from Chalmers College of Technological know-how in Sweden now reveals that lots of of the meat substitutes bought in Sweden assert a higher information of iron – but in a type that cannot be absorbed by the body.

A diet mainly designed up of plant-centered foods such as root vegetables, pulses, fruit and veggies typically has a very low weather influence and is also involved with well being benefits this sort of as a decreased chance of age-associated diabetes and cardiovascular disorder, as has been demonstrated in quite a few large studies. But there have been significantly much less scientific tests of how people’s health is influenced by consuming products and solutions dependent on what are known as textured* plant proteins.

In the new research from Chalmers, a exploration group in the Division of Foodstuff and Diet Science analysed 44 diverse meat substitutes bought in Sweden. The goods are predominantly produced from soy and pea protein, but also consist of the fermented soy item tempeh and mycoproteins, that is, proteins from fungi.

‘Among these products and solutions, we saw a large variation in dietary written content and how sustainable they can be from a health and fitness standpoint. In basic, the estimated absorption of iron and zinc from the merchandise was exceptionally lower. This is simply because these meat substitutes contained higher amounts of phytates, antinutrients that inhibit the absorption of minerals in the system,’ says Cecilia Mayer Labba, the study’s direct creator, who not too long ago defended her thesis on the nutritional limitations of switching from animal protein to plant-dependent protein.

The body misses out on vital minerals

Phytates are found by natural means in beans and cereals – they accumulate when proteins are extracted for use in meat substitutes. In the gastrointestinal tract, where mineral absorption will take spot, phytates sort insoluble compounds with vital nutritional minerals, particularly non-heme iron (iron observed in plant foodstuff) and zinc, which indicates that they are unable to be absorbed in the intestine.

‘Both iron and zinc also accumulate in protein extraction. This is why superior degrees are listed between the product’s components, but the minerals are sure to phytates and are not able to be absorbed and made use of by the overall body,’ says Cecilia Mayer Labba.

Iron deficiency among women is a widespread, global issue. In Europe, 10 to 32 per cent of gals of childbearing age are affected** and virtually a person in a few teenage women at secondary university in Sweden***. Ladies are also the team in modern society most most likely to have switched to a plant-centered diet plan and to consume the least amount of pink meat, which is the principal source of iron that can be simply absorbed in the digestive tract.

‘It is apparent that when it comes to minerals in meat substitutes, the sum that is out there for absorption by the system is a incredibly significant thing to consider. You can’t just seem at the checklist of components. Some of the merchandise we examined are fortified with iron but it is nevertheless inhibited by phytates. We think that generating nutrition claims on only those people vitamins and minerals that can be absorbed by the overall body could produce incentives for the field to enhance all those solutions,’ states Ann-Sofie Sandberg, Professor of Meals and Nourishment Science at Chalmers and co-author of the review.

The foodstuff sector desires new techniques

Tempeh, produced from fermented soybeans, differed from the other meat substitutes in the amount of iron offered for absorption by the overall body. This was predicted, as the fermentation of tempeh utilizes microorganisms that crack down phytates. Mycoproteins stood out for their substantial zinc content, without that contains any regarded absorption inhibitors. Even so, according to the scientists, it is nonetheless unclear how nicely our intestines can break down the cell walls of mycoprotein and how this in flip influences the absorption of nutrients.

‘Plant-based mostly meals is essential for the changeover to sustainable meals generation, and there is substantial growth probable for plant-based mostly meat substitutes. The market wants to assume about the dietary benefit of these goods and to utilise and optimise identified procedure tactics these as fermentation, but also develop new approaches to enhance the absorption of different vital nutrition,’ states Cecilia Mayer Labba.


Creation of plant proteins

  • Most present plant-dependent protein solutions on the marketplace are dependent on protein extracted from a cultivated plant, these kinds of as soybeans, and divided from the plant’s other factors.
  • The protein is then subjected to significant pressure and temperature, which restructures the proteins, known as *texturization, so that a product can be accomplished that is meatier and chewier in mixture with other ingredients.
  • Chalmers’ review displays that the dietary benefit of meat substitutes offered today is usually deficient relying on the preference of uncooked product (often imported soy) and processing problems (written content of anti-nutrition), and on additives (fats excellent and salt).
  • A food that contains 150 grams of meat substitutes contributes up to 60 per cent of the maximum recommended each day consumption of salt, which according to the Nordic Diet Suggestions is 6 grams. 


* The protein is restructured by significant force and temperature.

** Milman, Taylor, Merkel and Brannon: Iron position in expecting girls and females of reproductive age in Europe. Am J Clin Nutr 2017 106 (Suppl): 1655S-62S.

*** Riksmaten Adolescents Survey 2016-2017, Swedish Countrywide Foods Company (Livsmedelsverket) report collection no. 23, 2018. Swedish Countrywide Food items Agency (Livsmedelsverket) 2018.


Read through the entire post in Vitamins and minerals:

Dietary Composition and Approximated Iron and Zinc Bioavailability of Meat Substitutes Accessible on the Swedish Market


The authors of the review are Cecilia Mayer Labba, Hannah Steinhausen, Linnéa Almius, Knud Erik Bach Knudsen and Ann-Sofie Sandberg. The researchers are energetic at Chalmers College of Technological innovation and Aarhus University.

The analyze was funded by the Bertebos Basis, the Swedish Investigation Council Formas and the location of Västra Götaland.


For far more data, contact:

Dr Cecilia Mayer Labba, The Office of Biology and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, [email protected]  +46 ()31 772 38 11

Professor Ann-Sofie Sandberg, The Department of Biology and Organic Engineering, Chalmers College of Technologies, [email protected] +46 ()31 772 38 26 


Captions: Dr Cecilia Mayer Labba, The Section of Biology and Organic Engineering, Chalmers College of Technological innovation. Credit rating: Martina Butorac/Chalmers

Professor Ann-Sofie Sandberg, The Section of Biology and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology. Credit history: Chalmers

Photograph of vegetarian meat. Credit: Unsplash


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