Real vs Fake meat

In 2021, a survey of over 1000 americans found that over 2/3 have eaten plant-based meat in the past year.

But are they actually better?

Let's dig in.

1. Farmed meat

Pretty much self-explanatory. optimizing for profit without regards for animal welfare.


  • vital source of proteins


  • type-2 diabetes and heart disease (2012 study shows that swapping red meat for other options (chicken, legumes) for one meal a day legumes can reduce mortality risk by 7 to 19%)
  • generates 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions
  • animal cruelty

2. Plant-based meat

What: crafted using combination of plant ingredients that mimics taste, texture, and nutritional profile of meats. First, select protein-rich plants like soy, peas, or lentiles, which contain amino acids (essential building blocks of protein). Then to get the texture of meat, use heating, cooling, and pressure techniques to align the proteins in a way that resembles the fibrous structure of real meat. With texture down, now for the look and taste. Processing, flavoring, fats, and natural colors are added, i.e. beet juice is used for the red "meaty" color, vegetable oil is added for the fat.


  • less greenhouse gas emissions
    • 90% less beef
    • 63% than pork
    • 51% than chicken
  • less land and water
  • much lower levels of pollutants running from farms and into waterways


  • highly processed (high in sodium)
  • high in coconut oil (high in saturated fat -> heart disease)

3. Lab grown meat (cell based/cultured meat)

What: created by taking a small sample of animal cells, cultivated in controlled environment with nutrient-rich culture medium containing vitamins and minerals. This mimics the conditions within an animal's body, enabling cells to organize and form muscle fibers, the building blocks of meat. The cells continue to grow and differentiate to form the texture and composition of traditional meat.


  • same nutritional qualities as red meat


  • same health risk
  • requires biopsies of animals, when it ramps up, how many animals would be required?

Which is best?

Which is nutritionally superior?

If you care about your personal impact on animal welfare, public health, and the enviornment, plant-based meat comes out on top.

Switching to meat alternatives isn't an all-or-nothing decision.

A 2022 study estimated forgoing red meat for one meal a day can decrease your dietary carbon emissions by 48%.

So start today.

There's a lot you more can do than you think.