Protein from alternative “meat” is digested worse than protein from real

In recent years, vegan “meat” has become more popular as a way to “enjoy the taste of meat” without harming animals or the environment. Protein from plant-based meat alternatives may be digested worse than protein from real meat, according to a new study.

In a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists grew human intestinal cells in a Petri dish and analyzed cellular uptake of peptides (“building blocks” of proteins) when interacting with chicken meat and a substitute made from soy and wheat protein.

Both products were ground to simulate the chewing process and passed through a sieve. They were also treated with a digestive enzyme found in the human intestine.

The experimental results showed that artificial meat peptides were more difficult to be absorbed by human cells than chicken meat peptides.

Adapted from Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2022 On the left – meat substitute, and on the right – chicken meat

It is important to note that the tests used an extremely simplified model, which lacked many of the complexities of the real human intestine. Scientists write that in future studies, they will try to repeat experiments on living organisms.

Earlier, researchers found bacteria in the intestines of meat-eaters that negatively affect the heart. Vegetarians practically do not have such bacteria. You can find out more about this in our material.

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