Plant Protein Popularity Picks Up
Plant sources of proteins possess some benefits over animal-sourced ingredients. However, how do they stack up nutritionally?
By Claudia O’Donnell, Contributing Editor
Oct 06, 2016
Do you want to live a healthy, happy 100 years or longer? Author Dan Buettner’s books The Blue Zones and The Blue Zones Solutions delve into the lifestyles and beliefs of five populations documented to have some of the highest concentration of centenarians in the world.
The populations, whether located in Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; or Loma Linda, Calif., have key elements in common. They include social connections, physical movement, certain attitudes and beliefs and, yes, diets.
Blue Zone diets are not vegetarian. Meat was consumed, although in small portions of three to four ounces some five times a month on average. The diets were, however, plant-based, often with a focus on beans.
Interest in plant foods, including as a protein source, has been increasing. In an April 2016 Packaged Facts National Consumer Survey, 42 percent of consumers said high protein was “especially important” in choosing foods to eat, says Research Director David Sprinkle. More specifically, a February 2016 Packaged Facts report “Food Formulation and Ingredient Trends: Plant Proteins” found 43.2 percent of U.S. consumers said they somewhat or strongly agreed that they sought out vegetarian sources of proteins. This fell to 28 percent of those 35 and older, Sprinkle notes.
Drivers behind this trend extend beyond personal health to include ethical considerations. The globe’s population is predicted to grow from 7.4 billion to over 9 billion in less than 24 years. With some countries already struggling to feed significant segments of their population, the expectation is that as the mouths to feed on earth increase and irrigable land decreases, food insecurity will increase. Additionally, animal welfare and agricultural practices (environmental health) are important for many…
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