The Science Of Plant-Based Meat vs Grass-Fed Meat

If you’ve ever wondered if plant-based meat alternatives are nutritionally equal to real, pasture-raised meats, or if they are truly better for issues like inflammation and cardiovascular health, this is the episode for you.

Meat has become such a monolithic topic when, in fact, it’s extremely complex and nuanced. We can’t just say all meat is good or no meat is good, it’s a matter of what types and sources of proteins you’re eating and what the rest of your diet looks like, too.

I’m excited to dive into all those complexities today with Dr. Stephan van Vliet, who is a nutrition scientist with metabolomics expertise in the Center for Human Nutrition Studies at Utah State University.

We dive into the episode discussing the rise of meat replacements and whether they’re really any better than real meat. It’s become a controversial topic relating to both health and the environment, and Dr. van Vliet sheds some light on what we need to consider if we’re truly comparing them apples to apples.

And while we’ve seen that grass-fed meats offer greater nutritional value than most types of feedlot meats, it’s not always the case depending on the practices used.

We also talk about how the diet of livestock affects the flavor and phytochemical composition of
their meat and milk. One of the really interesting things about grazing animals is that they’re able to eat certain plants that we as humans cannot tolerate, passing some amazing phytonutrients onto us. We’re really just scratching the surface of phytochemicals—there are tens of thousands of them. How do they impact human health, and if we’re missing them from our diet what benefits are we missing out on? These are some larger questions that Dr. van Vliet’s work is helping us start to answer.

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