First-of-its-kind study links vegan meat to better gut health (plus a frosty side effect)

Plant-based meats have a positive impact on gut health, according to new study published in peer-reviewed scientific journal food. The randomized, controlled study in the real world found that consumers who ate only five plant-based meals per week instead of meat-based dishes experienced increased levels of a group of bacteria that produce butyrate. , a fatty acid that promotes good digestive health. and decreases inflammation to protect against disease.

The study, titled “Impact of Plant-Based Meat Alternatives on the Gut Microbiota of Consumers: A Real-World Study”, followed 40 participants aged 18 to 55 for four weeks with an intervention group replacing at least four meals per week with meals cooked with plant-based meat products (the study used products from the vegan brand Meatless Farm). The researchers compared the changes in the composition and functionality of the gut microbiota to those of a similarly sized control group that continued to eat meat, dairy and eggs and no plant-based meat products. Stool samples were collected and the resulting data was analyzed in a composition conscious manner using a range of bioinformatic methods.

Vegan meat for gut health

The study results that plant-based meats have a positive impact on gut health are likely due to the nutritional profile of the products, especially the fiber content that helps produce gut-friendly butyrate. The study also found a decrease in potentially harmful Tenericutes bacteria, indicating that the herbal offerings are driving holistic changes within the gut microbial ecosystem. At the same time, given that participants in the intervention group increased their weekly fiber intake by an average of 19 grams due to the addition of plant-based meats, more than half of them reported increased gas and bloating, making this the most commonly reported side effect. symptom.

“This study is revolutionary because it is the first to indicate a direct correlation between plant-based meat offerings and changes in consistent gut bacteria [with] better gut health outcomes, ”lead researcher Miguel Toribio-Mateas of the School of Applied Sciences at London South Bank University said in a statement. “The key factor behind these changes is the nutritional value of Meatless Farm’s offerings, especially the high fiber and phytonutrient content in them and their role in the production of butyrate.

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Nutritional profiles of vegan meat

The aim of the study was to determine whether plant-based meats such as burgers, sausages and meatballs that are made with plant-based ingredients and high in plant protein, fiber and phenolic compounds can cause positive changes in consumers’ gut bacteria when used to replace their animal product counterparts. While plant-based meat products from brands such as Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and Meatless Farm are classified by some consumers as “highly processed,” the process used to make these plant-based products can still maintain the values. high nutritional profiles of their ingredients.

Some prepared foods contain reduced amounts of nutrient-rich ingredients as well as high levels of unhealthy fats and refined carbohydrates, and these low-fiber foods are known to impair nutrient delivery to the colon and therefore promote negative changes. both in the composition and metabolic activity of intestinal bacteria. However, the study researchers argue that the potential of a plant-based meat product to promote these negative changes in the gut lies in the nutritional profiles of its individual ingredients. Due to the lack of literature on testing the quality of plant-based meats versus conventional animal products on the consumer microbiome, this study aimed to fill a knowledge gap at the intersection of nutrition, microbiology and consumer behavior.

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