Vegan meat substitutes benefit the gut microbiome in a new study

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A recently published study on the impacts of alternatives to vegan meat on the gut microbiome has produced positive results. It took two groups of people and asked one to replace the weekly meat consumption with herbal alternatives.

The result was that those who ate the vegan options had an increase in butyrate-producing microbes. Health experts report that it is good for the body as it helps prevent disease.

Win for vegan meat substitutes

Scientist Miguel Toribio-Mateas, LSBU lecturer in microbiome science, is behind the randomized control study. The idea behind it was that many people view plant-based meat substitutes (PBMAs) as ultra-processed and “low-quality,” despite the fact that many wish to move towards meatless diets.

Toribio-Mateas wanted to know what happens to the gut microbiomes of flexitarians who consume ready-to-eat products compared to meat eaters. The microbiome – which is a key area of ​​Toribio-Mateas’ research – plays an important role in helping control digestion and benefiting the immune system.

Writing on Instagram, he said: “I knew PBMAs had a bad reputation and was delighted to see the results because… alternatives to meat are here to stay and they can play a part in the process. a healthy and balanced diet “.

Dr Gemma Newman praised the study on social media

The total 39 participants were divided into two groups throughout the month-long study. The former was asked to replace meat with vegan alternatives for an average of five meals a week. While the latter ate their usual diet which includes meat and dairy products.

This is because there is a “glaring lack” of information on the benefits of vegan meat products, says Toribio-Mateas.

“We argue that the simple industrial processing of ingredients of plant origin does not make a [plant-based meat] ultra-processed product by default, ”he adds.

Gut microbiome

Despite its small study sample, the research admits that defining a “healthy” gut can be difficult because most variations in the microbiome are always “unexplained.”

But renowned vegan healthcare professional Dr Gemma Newman praised the study.

Indeed, this indicates “a positive change in the populations of gut bacteria” among the participants. Additionally, ingredients such as chicory root, carrot, pea and potato fiber are beneficial for human health, she said.

“Plant-based meat substitutes are here to stay. And it’s important to understand their impact on health, ”Dr. Newman added on social media.

You can read the full study here

This article was updated on 09/08/21 to include the title of Miguel Toribio-Mateas