Ask the Doc

Are Meat Analogues a Healthful Habit?

Neal Barnard

Q: Are meat analogues a healthful habit?

A: Analogues made from soy, wheat, or pea protein are much better than the foods they replace. Meats contribute cholesterol and animal fat, along with traces of carcinogens that form during cooking. Also, hot dogs and other processed meat products are linked to colorectal cancer.

Even so, analogues tend to be heavily processed, which often means removing fiber and some nutrients, concentrating protein, and adding salt, flavorings, and other things we do not need. So, think of veggie dogs and other analogues as a bridge leading us from the meaty diets we grew up with toward beans, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits, which are the most healthful foods of all.

January/February 2012 p.32

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