A new 2022 study has concluded that plant-based meat is healthier and more sustainable than animal meat. The study, published in the scientific journal Future Foods and titled “Plant-based animal product alternatives are healthier and more environmentally sustainable than animal products,” reviews 43 studies related to the health and environmental impacts of plant-based foods as well as literature on consumer attitudes.
One of these studies suggests that almost 90% of consumers who ate plant-based meat and dairy were meat-eaters, while another study found that 40% of conventional meat products were classified as “less healthy” based on the United Kingdom’s Nutrient Profiling Model, compared to just 14% of plant-based alternatives. One paper found daily consumption of plant-based meat was associated with a 49% lower risk of hip fracture, and two studies found that, compared to chicken meals, meat made from fungi protein led to a significant reduction in insulin responses, potentially reducing insulin release in overweight people.
Regarding the environmental impact, one paper found replacing 5% of German beef consumption with pea protein would reduce CO2 emissions by eight million metric tons per year, and another found that plant-based burgers were associated with up to 98% less greenhouse gas emissions compared to beef burgers. Chris Bryant, the author of the report, said to Plant based News, “I have found overwhelming evidence that, as well as being far more sustainable compared to animal products in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, water use and land use, plant-based animal product alternatives also have a wide range of health benefits…More research funding is now needed to make these improvements a reality, ensuring manufacturers can make products that taste better, are healthier and provide consumers with sustainable options that are more likely to reduce demand for meat.”