According to a new study, the proteins in plant-based meat substitutes may not be as accessible to human cells as those in real meat.
While protein-rich plants, such as soybeans, are commonly used around the world, researchers, including those at Ohio State University in the US, say there is no It’s not clear how much of the nutrient makes it into human cells.
In the study published Wednesday in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Scientists assessed whether lab-grown human cells absorbed the same amounts of protein peptides from meat substitutes as those from chicken.
According to the researchers, the findings could lead to new ingredients that may increase the absorption of nutrients from plant-based meat products.
To mimic the look and texture of real meat, they say plant-based substitutes are usually made by dehydrating powdered plants and mixing them with seasonings.
These mixtures are then typically heated, moistened and processed in an extruder to produce plant-based meat, the researchers say, adding that these products are often considered more nutritious since the plants used to make them are high in protein and low in fat. into undesirables. fats.
However, the researchers say that the proteins in alternatives may not break down into peptides as well as those in meats.
In the new study, they analyzed the amount of peptides taken up by a model meat alternative by human cells and compared it to the amount taken up by cells from a piece of chicken breast (CB).
For research, scientists created a meat substitute (MA) model made from soy and wheat gluten with the extrusion process.
When cut, they say the material had long, fibrous bits inside, just like chicken.
The researchers then cooked pieces of the substitute and chicken meat, and broke them down using an enzyme that humans use to digest food.
They found that the peptides and their amino acid building blocks from meat substitutes were less soluble in water than those from chicken, and were also not “well absorbed by human cells”.
“Amino acid composition showed fewer essential and non-essential amino acids in the MA permeate than in the CB permeate,” the scientists wrote in the study.
They say future studies can help identify ingredients that may help boost peptide absorption from plant-based meat substitutes.