With the rise in popularity of beyond meat, one of the biggest selling point of “meatless” meat is its impact on the environment and its health benefits. Such products are said to be significantly more environmentally-friendly than meat. Examining the data, it seems that this is in fact true. A burger made of vegetables in comparison to a burger made of beef has a significantly reduced effect on the environment. It uses less water and land, produces less greenhouse gas, and takes less energy to produce. Though this is true, it is important to remember that it is not entirely without a carbon footprint, and that you can buy meat with a reduced carbon footprint. Nevertheless, plant-based meat is currently the more environmentally-friendly option. The problem that arises with fake meats is their health benefits. Because the goal is to mimic real meat, many artificial and highly-processed ingredients are used to make the meat more realistic. Though many eat plant-based meat for its health benefits, the ingredients added are often very unhealthy and make it so that the fake meat isn’t healthier than real meat. Many times, the fake meat can actually be more unhealthy than real meat because of the ingredients used to mimic real meat. Overall, it becomes up to the consumer to decide what they value more: the environment or their health, and make their decisions accordingly.
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