A new study has determined the human body may not be as receptive to the proteins in vegan meat alternatives as it is to real meat.
Scientists at Ohio State University say a recent study revealed the human body may not absorb proteins from plant-based meat alternatives as it does from real meat. The study, published Thursday in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, suggests the proteins in meat alternatives like soybeans may not break down into peptides as easily as real meat proteins.
“The amino acid composition showed fewer essential and non-essential amino acids in the MA permeate than in the CB permeate,” the researchers wrote. They found in their study that the proteins from meat alternatives were less water soluble than the proteins from real meat. The study used a plant-based protein against chicken breast to determine how effectively the human body can break down the proteins into peptides. It remains unclear how much of the nutrient from vegan meat alternatives make it into human cells at all.
To carry out the study, researchers “compared protein absorption from plant-based meat with chicken meat. They found that plant-based protein was absorbed less during an in-vitro digestion process than protein from chicken.”
The team used a plant-based meat alternative they created using soy and wheat gluten. “The amino acid composition showed fewer essential and non-essential amino acids in the MA permeate than in the CB permeate,” the researchers wrote in the study.
The findings may call into question whether a plant-based diet is actually healthier for the human body than an omnivorous diet. One of the researchers, Dr. Da Chen, explained the results to Medical News Today.
“Proteins are subjected to digestion before being absorbed by human intestinal epithelial cells. After digestion, proteins become mainly peptides. The size and polarity of peptides have been reported to associate closely with their absorption,” Chen said. “In our study, peptides produced from the digestion of plant-based meats were larger [and less water soluble], which makes them pass through the epithelial cells slower compared to chicken, resulting in less efficiency of absorption.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: FORBES
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