What’s Really In Those Plant-Based Meats?

Plant-based, vegan, fake meat, no matter what you call them, are becoming widely popular. Seems like every week there is a new product coming out and it appears that there is a huge market for them. But are they really healthy? We wanted to find out what’s really in those fake meats so that you can be informed about what you are really eating.

Plant Based Meats

Marketing leads us to believe that “plant-based” burgers consist solely of that—plants. However, the products specifically designed to mimic the texture and flavor of meat contain an extensive ingredient list that’s at odds with the better-for-you image these foods are trying to create.

We discovered that for the most part, we’re being duped into eating heavily processed food that contains numerous preservatives, additives, fillers, and chemicals linked to cancer. They’re high in sodium, and low in nutritional quality. We should NOT be told that highly processed fake foods are any better for you than the meat products they’re replacing. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or a meat eater, you need to be informed and these companies are not going to be the ones to do this.

Plant Based Bacon

Here’s a list of some of the ingredients that you may want to know about.

Artificial Flavor

There are over 3,000 different chemicals allowed to be used as artificial flavors for foods in the US. It is a great place to hide and ingredient like MSG. Artificial flavoring is also often the mark of low-quality processed food.

6 Matching Products including, MorningStar Farms products, Breakfast Maple Flavored Sausage Veggie Patties, Hot and Spicy Veggie Sausage Breakfast Patties, Original, Chikn Patties, Poultry Chikn Nuggets, Veggie Breakfast Original Sausage Patties, Veggie Breakfast Veggie Bacon Strips

Autolyzed Yeast Extract

Used as a flavor enhancer due to the natural presence of monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is released when the yeast is heated during production. Neither MSG nor autolyzed yeast are consistent with clean eating ideology.

12 Matching Products including Cedar Lakes Jumbo Franks, Loma Linda Big Franks, MorningStar Farms products including; Breakfast Maple Flavored Sausage Veggie Patties, Hot and Spicy Veggie Sausage Breakfast Patties, Original, Chikn Patties, Poultry Chikn Nuggets, Veggie Breakfast Original Sausage Patties, Veggie Breakfast Veggie Bacon Strips, Veggie Dogs, and Veggie Breakfast Sausage Links and, Yves the Good Dog

Bleached Wheat Flour

Flour is bleached using one or a combination of 20 chemicals such as benzoyl peroxide and chlorine gas, which remain in the final product in trace amounts. The process also causes a chemical breakdown of the nutrients normally found in wheat flour, like vitamin E.

2 Matching Brands including, MorningStar Farms original chik’n patties and MorningStar Farms Poultry Chik’n Nuggets.

Canola Oil

What is canola oil made from? It comes from the canola plant. This wild rapeseed oil contains large amounts of erucic acid, which is known to cause health problems, so the canola plant was developed from rapeseed in order to use it to produce a food-grade canola oil with lower erucic acid levels. Why is canola oil so bad for you? For three main reasons, most canola oil today can be very harmful to your body:

  1. Over 90 percent of canola oil is genetically modified.
  2. Canola oil is a refined oil that’s often partially hydrogenated to increase its stability, but this increases its negative health effects.
  3. It’s been linked to increased inflammation in animal studies, and chronic inflammation is believed to be at the root of most diseases. 

23 Matching Products, too many to mention. Some of the brands to check in meatless products are: 365 Everyday Value, Franklin Farms, Gardein, Lifelight, MorningStar Farms, Quorn & Yves

Caramel Color

Caramel coloring refers to any of the four classes of caramel food coloring, two of which are associated with cancer. The manufacturing process of Class III and Class IV caramel color produces carcinogenic byproducts that can remain in the final product. Although you’d have to eat an excess of caramel coloring to consume enough of the byproduct to cause cancer, those trying to avoid synthetic ingredients should steer clear of caramel coloring.

24 Matching Products, including the brands, Beyond Meat, Boca, Cedar Lake, Gardein, Heritiage, Loma Linda, MorningStar Farm & Tofurkey. Check your meatless products under these brands.

Corn Oil

Corn oil is a heavily processed vegetable oil. To separate oil from the kernel, manufacturers often use a solvent called hexane, which is a known human neurotoxin and suspected of damaging reproductive and fetal health. Most hexane is evaporated off, but small amounts remain in the final product. Also, corn is genetically modified and RoundUp Ready (glyphosate). Chances are if you are eating corn oil you are eating glyphosate.

15 Matching Products, including the Brands, Boca, Cedar Lake, Heritage, Loma Linda and MorningStar Farms. Check your meatless products under these brands.

Cultured Dextrose

Because cultured dextrose is produced by culturing sugar with bacteria, it’s marketed as a “more natural” way to preserve, sweeten, or texturize processed food. However, cultured dextrose has been linked with numerous side effects, including upset stomach, fatigue, and increased thirst.

2 Matching Products including Franklin Farms Original Veggie Burgers and Impossible Foods Impossible Burger

Dimagnesium Phosphate

Although dimagnesium phosphate is safe for healthy individuals, it can be dangerous for those with common health problems, including kidney disease, severe heart and lung disease, and thyroid problems. As an additive used to emulsify, stabilize, or provide texture, dimagnesium phosphate is inconsistent with clean eating ideology.

7 Matching Products, including Yves Brand, Veggie Bacon, Veggie Bologna, Veggie Ham, The Good Dog, Veggie Pepperoni, Veggie Salami, Veggie Turkey

Disodium Guanylate

Like MSG, disodium guanylate is an inexpensive flavor enhancer used to mimic meaty or savory flavors. As a flavor additive, disodium guanylate is inconsistent with clean eating ideology.

12 Matching Products including, Boca All American Veggie Burger, Cedar Lake Jumbo Frank, Loma Linda Saucettes Vegetarian Breakfast Links, MorningStar Farms products including; Breakfast Maple Flavored Sausage Veggie Patties, Hot and Spicy Veggie Sausage Breakfast Patties, Veggie Breakfast Original Sausage Patties, Poultry Chik’n Nuggets, Veggie Breakfast Sausage Links, Veggie Dogs, Veggie Meal Starters Chik’n Strips, Veggie Meal Starters Steak Strips, Veggie Breakfast Original Sausage Patties and, Veggie Breakfast Original Bacon Strips

Disodium Inosinate

Like, MSG, disodium inosinate is an inexpensive flavor enhancer used to mimic meaty or savory flavors. As a flavor additive, disodium inosinate is inconsistent with clean eating ideology.

13 Matching Products including, Boca Burger All-American Veggie Burgers, Cedar Lake Jumbo Frank, Loma Linda Saucettes Vegetarian Breakfast Links, MorningStar Farms products, including; Breakfast Maple Flavored Sausage Veggie Patties, Hot and Spicy Veggie Sausage Breakfast Patties and Veggie Breakfast Original Sausage Patties, Original Chik’n Patties, Original Chik’n Nuggets, Veggie Breakfast Sausage Links, Veggie Dogs, Veggie Meal Starters Chik’n Strips, Veggie Meal Starters Steak Strips, Veggie Breakfast Original Sausage Patties and, Veggie Breakfast Original Bacon Strips

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein

Hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, which are made from foods including soy, corn, and wheat, are boiled in hydrochloric acid and neutralized with sodium hydroxide. The process breaks the protein down into its component amino acid molecules, which creates small amounts of MSG as a byproduct that isnt required to be listed on the ingredient label. As a heavily processed additive, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins are inconsistent with clean eating ideology.

12 Matching Products including, Boca All American Veggie Burger, Cedar Lake Chik’n Strips, Cedar Lake Jumbo Franks, Heritage Breakfast Mini Links, Loma Linda Linkettes, MorningStar Farms products including; Breakfast Maple Flavored Sausage Veggie Patties, Veggie Breakfast Original Sausage Patties, Veggie Breakfast Veggie Bacon Strips, Veggie Meal Starters Steak Strips, Veggie Dogs and Poultry Chikn Nuggets and Yves The Good Dog

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein

Modified Food Starch

Modified food starch is treated with chemicals, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, potassium permanganate, sodium hypochlorite, or acids, in order to make the additive keep its texture better at higher temperatures. It is used to cheaply add bulk and improve the texture of processed foods.

8 Matching Products including, Beyond Meat Beyond Burger, (old formulation), Impossible Foods Impossible Burger, LightLife Plant-Based Ground, MorningStar Farms Breakfast Maple Flavored Sausage Veggie Patties, Veggie Breakfast Original Sausage Patties, Veggie Breakfast Veggie Bacon Strips, Poultry Chikn Nuggets, and Quorn Meatless Italian Sausages

Mycoprotein

Mycoprotein is protein from fungus. The ingredient can cause gastrointestinal distress and in some cases, life-threatening anaphylactic reactions in those who are allergic to it. The FDA does not require labels to warn of the presence of this allergen.

5 Matching Products including these Quorn Products: Meatless Chicken Nuggets, Meatless Gourmet Burger, Meatless Grounds, Meatless Italian Sausages and Meatless Strips

Salt

Too much sodium in the diet can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, especially if it is the kind in the blue box that doesn’t have the minerals that the body requires. We are not talking about salts like Celtic sea salt, Himalayan sea salt, or the ones that have many beneficial minerals in them. The average American already consumes more than twice as much table salt as recommended by the American Heart Association.

86 Matching Products, too many to mention. Read the labels please>

Soy Lecithin

Soy lecithin is extracted from soybeans using a solvent called hexane, which is a known human neurotoxin and suspected of damaging reproductive and fetal health. Most hexane is evaporated off, but small amounts remain in the final product. Although the European Union prohibits foods from containing more than 10 parts per million (ppm) of hexane residues, the FDA doesn’t limit hexane in processed soy, nor does it require manufacturers to monitor levels in their final product. Independent testing has found 50 ppm hexane in U.S. food products — more than five times Europe’s safety threshold! Also, most soy is genetically modified so you are probably getting glyphosate too!

9 Matching Products including Cedar Lakes Jumbo Frank, Garden Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites, Heritage Breakfast Mini Links, Loma Linda Linkettes, Loma Linda Redi-Burgers, MorningStar Farms products including; Breakfast Maple Flavored Sausage Veggie Patties, Hot and Spicy Veggie Sausage Breakfast Patties and Veggie Breakfast Original Sausage Patties, Tofurkey Pasture-Raised Plant Breakfast Sausage.

Sodium Phosphates

Sodium phosphates preserve processed foods by helping them retain moisture. As a source of excess dietary phosphorus, it can lead to cardiovascular and kidney problems. The body absorbs roughly twice as much phosphorus from additives as it does from natural sources.

7 Matching Products including. 365 Everyday Value, Breaded Chickenless Nuggets, Boca All-American Veggie Burgers, Gardein Szechuan Beefless Strips, MorningStar Farms products including; Breakfast Maple Flavored Sausage Veggie Patties, Veggie Breakfast Original Sausage Patties, and, Veggie Breakfast Veggie Bacon Strips.

Soy Leghemoglobin (heme)

SLH is the substance that gives the burger its meaty taste and makes it appear to bleed like meat when cut. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initially refused to sign off on the safety of SLH when first approached by the company. The rat feeding study results suggest that the agency’s concerns were justified. Rats fed the genetically modified (GM) yeast-derived SLH developed unexplained changes in weight gain, changes in the blood that can indicate the onset of inflammation or kidney disease, and possible signs of anemia.

1 Matching Product including, Impossible Foods Impossible Burger.

Heme Makes it Appear Like Blood

Soy Protein

Soy protein isolates, concentrates, and textured vegetable protein are made by separating soy proteins from fats. To do this, many manufacturers bathe soybean flakes in a solvent called hexane, which is a known human neurotoxin and suspected of damaging reproductive and fetal health. Most hexane is evaporated off, but small amounts remain in the final product.

Although the European Union prohibits foods from containing more than 10 parts per million (ppm) of hexane residues, the FDA doesn’t limit hexane in processed soy, nor does it require manufacturers to monitor levels in their final product. Independent testing has found 50 ppm hexane in U.S. food products — more than five times Europe’s safety threshold!

56 Matching Products including Beyond Meat Beyond Chicken Strips Grilled and the Impossible Foods Impossible Burger and too many others to mention. Read the labels please.

Sugar

Regardless of whether added sugar comes from sugar cane, beets, corn, or another source, diets high in added sugar increase the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, obesity and more. Added sugars are also addictive, and should be avoided wherever possible. Words ending in -ose (dextrose, maltose, glucose) often indicate added sugar. Also, unless a product is organic you more than likely are getting RoundUp (glyphosate) in your food.

46 Matching Products, too many to mention. Read the labels please.

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is the most common whitening and brightening additive used to make food, paint, cosmetics, and even sunscreen. There is some evidence that eating foods containing small nanoparticles of titanium dioxide can harm the digestive tract and induce toxic effects in the brain.

6 Matching Products including Beyond Meat Chicken Strips Grilled, ToFurkey products including; Barbecue Slow Roasted Chick’n, Lightly Seasoned Plant-Based Chick’n, Sesame Garlic Slow Roasted Chick’n, and Thai Basil Slow Roasted Chick’n.

Yeast Extact

Yeast extract is used as a flavor enhancer due to the natural presence of monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is released when the yeast is heated during production. MSG is a flavor enhancer that is inconsistent with clean eating ideology.

53 Matching Products, too many to mention. Read the labels please.

Food Integrity Now gives credit to Cleanfoodfacts.com for the source of this information.

Conclusion

Please share this information with others so that they can be informed about what is really in those plant-based meats. We are not stating that eating a plant-based diet is not healthy, it can be for some. However, eating highly processed foods is never healthy! Choose wisely and be well!

And, to stay well, don’t forget to check out our healthstore where you will find high-integrity products to assist you in your wellness and healing.

About Carol Grieve'

Carol Grieve' is the Founder, CEO and host of Food Integrity Now. She is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist using the functional medicine process, life coach, parenting coach, food educator, speaker, writer, visionary and artist. To find out more about Carol's wellness coaching and public speaking, contact her at carol@foodintegritynow.org or emailing her at carolgrieve333@gmail.com Phone, Zoom and Skype sessions are available for coaching!

Comments

  1. Thank you for your much needed article discussing the truth about many of the plant-based foods being pushed on consumers. We not only concur with what you have written, but in the past have posted similar material on the blog pages of The Truth in Labeling Campaign (www.truthinlabeling.org).

    Your readers might appreciate knowing that the amino acid that causes MSG reactions is a manufactured single amino acid found outside of protein (not tied up with other amino acids in protein), found in 40+ food ingredients in addition to MSG – many of which you mentioned in your article. The list of those ingredients can be accessed at https://www.truthinlabeling.org/names.html.

  2. Great article to alert consumers to the dangers of these so-called healthy products. All the the critique I’ve seen in the press so far only talks about the sodium content, but never mentions these horrible ingredients. The Truth in Labeling Campaign also published some excellent blogs on the risk of eating these “plant-based” foods. My favorite is this one: https://www.truthinlabeling.org/blog/2020/02/08/plant-based-meat-replacers-promote-obesity-infertility-and-migraine-headache/
    Keep up the good work Food Integrity Now!

  3. I’m sharing this on Facebook!

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