Plant-based meats look and taste like meat. These are vegetarian options for people who prefer a diet of meat and fish.  Read-to-eat plant-based meat options are now available on store shelves. These are coming from food innovators. A plant-based diet is a healthier alternative to one laden with meat; It reduces the chances of artery blockage and artery hardening, which are common causes of heart attacks (Tuso et al., 2015; Hu.,2003). It’s been observed that subjects who follow a plant-based diet (especially legumes) have high levels of genistein in their urine. Genistein is also said to help prevent chronic degenerative diseases like cancer tumors (Fotsis et al., 1993).

It is estimated that about 2 billion people live primarily on a meat-based diet worldwide, while 4 billion focus on a plant-based diet. The US food production system is a dominant meat-based market. A study done by Innova Market Insights in 2014 saw a 14.7% growth in demand for plant-based protein, while the need for animal protein grew only by 7.5%. Such trends are being driven by people’s concerns about obesity and the associated lifestyle diseases it brings. Food safety issues related to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) also contribute to this shift in consumption.

While there is increasing scientific support for a plant-based diet, the shift has certain downsides. For non-vegetarians, reducing meat intake while increasing intake of legumes, whole grains, and the like tend to result in a deficiency of iron and zinc. A plant-based diet is deficient in Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin B12. Vegans will require to take supplements to prevent nutritional deficiency of these essential compounds.

Individual preferences and cultural trends are some important factors that influence our diet. The global preference is shifting towards plant-based foods. I doubt that human society will change to becoming purely plant-based.

Additional reading:

Nutrition Facts- a guide to good health

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