Plant-based meat growing in popularity

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — During the summer, you may be grilling all kinds of burgers and steaks.

While you may be throwing some veggies on the grill too, experts say you may want to add more.

Trey Wharton became a vegan at the end of 2015. After learning more about the lifestyle through documentaries, he says making the switch was easy.

“The only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner,” Wharton said.

Before changing his diet, Wharton says he enjoyed meat, but thanks to plant-based meat substitutes the change was easier.

“I really enjoyed the alternative plant-based meats like black bean burgers and such, but I felt like it was a good stepping stone in a transitional phase into keep on improving my diet and adapting to a better lifestyle,” Wharton said.

You don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan to incorporate meat substitutes either.

Produce manager at the Co-op Rachel Saum says plant-based meat can be a good option for people just trying to cut back their meat intake.

“Our customers are more and more interested in meatless alternatives. So the Beyond Burgers sold out every case we could get in for awhile when we first brought them in, and we just brought in the sausages from them and they’ve been really popular,” Saum said.

Beyond Meat offers various plant based meat substitutes, and may be kicking black bean burgers out of the spotlight.

She says aside from customer’s reviews that the meat substitute tastes like beef, one patty contains 20 grams of protein, 5 more than a traditional hamburger patty according to the USDA.

“The Beyond meats are pea protein based. So they’re soy free, which you know consumers are increasingly concerned about soy in a lot of their foods,” Saum said.

Another reason people may be choosing meat substitutes? Processed meat such as hot dogs are declared as a carcinogen, and red meat like beef is classified as probably carcinogenic according to The World Health Organization.

If you’re looking for an easy preparation option for your veggie meat substitute, you can even find it on a take and bake pizza.

Various fast food locations across the country and even right here in South Dakota are serving up meatless substitutes as the products gain traction.

“I think that it’s a good way to help people transition into getting away from eating processed foods and meats,” Wharton said.

My plate dot gov suggests adults consume about 5 to 6 and a half ounces of protein per day from various food sources such as meat, seafood or nuts. To see a breakdown of how much you should be getting and what foods to find it in, click here.

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