A new study has suggested that the protein in plant-based meat alternatives may not reach human cells like protein from real meat.
While protein-rich plants, such as soybeans, are widely consumed around the world, researchers, including those from Ohio State University in the US, say it’s not yet available. clearly how much nutrients make it into human cells.
In the study published Wednesday on Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, The scientists evaluated whether human cells grown in the lab absorb the same amount of peptide building blocks from meat alternatives as they do from chicken.
This finding could lead to new ingredients that could increase the absorption of nutrients from plant-based meat products, the researchers say.
To mimic the look and texture of real meat, they say plant-based substitutes are often made by dehydrating plants into powders and mixing them with seasonings.
These blends are then often heated, moistened and processed through an extruder to create plant-based meat, the researchers said, adding that these products are often processed considered more nutritious because the plants used to make them are high in protein and low in undesirable substances. fat.
However, the researchers say the protein in the substitutes may not break down into peptides as well as the meat proteins.
In the new study, they analyzed the amount of peptides absorbed by human cells from a sample meat substitute and compared it with the amount absorbed by cells from a piece of chicken breast (CB).
For the study, the scientists created a sample meat substitute (MA) made from soybeans and wheat gluten with an extrusion process.
When opened, they say the material has long pieces of fiber inside, like chicken.
The researchers then cooked the replacement pieces and chicken, and broke them down using an enzyme that humans use to digest food.
They found that peptides and their amino acid building blocks from meat substitutes were less water-soluble than those from chicken and were also “not absorbed by human cells”.
The scientists wrote in the study, “Amino acid composition showed fewer essential and non-essential amino acids in the MA osmolarity than in the CB osmolarity.”
They say future studies may help identify ingredients that may help promote peptide absorption of plant-based meat alternatives.