Are Plant-Based Meats Good for You?

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I’ve toyed with the idea of vegetarianism — veganism would involve giving up cheese and that’s something this Spaniard cannot bring herself to do — on numerous occasions. I’ve contemplated switching to a diet completely free of meat, fish and poultry for its potential health benefits — according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Vegetarian eating patterns have been associated with improved health outcomes including lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure.”

But there are other arguments to make around the idea of switching to a meat-free diet. Meat production has a variety of environmental impacts, from greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change to the high energy consumption necessary for raising livestock to the water scarcity driven by beef production.

And even if you put health benefits and environmental worries aside, there’s also the ethical dilemma an omnivorous diet poses: Do humans have the right to kill animals?

Global meat consumption continues to rise and is expected to increase 1.4% per year through 2023 — but so is the plant-based meat market, which is expected to reach $13.8 billion by 2027. That’s a significant increase from $3.3 billion in 2019. Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and Amy’s Kitchen — but also Maple Leaf Foods, Conagra and Kellogg NA — are some of the big players in the plant-based meats arena.