The meat and dairy industries have pulled the ultimate con in convincing generations of Americans that animal protein is essential to a healthy diet, when frankly there are some far better and tastier plant-based options. Here are the five most outrageous claims ever made about meat-based protein.

“Beef Gives Your Body More of the Nutrients it Needs.”

According to Beef It’s What’s For Dinner, beef is a great source of protein, choline, iron, and a whole host of other key nutrients for a healthy body. But what this statement omits is how you can get almost all of these nutrients through plant-based proteins instead. Black beans, for instance, are a great source of iron — and they don’t have any saturated fat. Choline can also be found in plant-based products like flax seed. In other words, the meat industry makes it sound like their products are the only sources of various vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. They conveniently “forget” that you can get the same nutrients by eating a variety of fruits and veggies.

Advertisement

Cage-Free Eggs are Much More Humane Than Conventional Eggs

Eggland’s Best claims their cage-free eggs are produced in much more humane environments than conventional eggs. They assert how their chickens have more access to daylight and space for roaming about. While that may be true, we’re slowly unpacking the myth behind the cage-free egg and how it might promote just as much suffering to chickens. The standards for cage-free eggs are murky at best, and there really isn’t much regulation about using this term (i.e. marketing scheme) with a food product. You’re better off sticking to your morning tofu and pepper scramble with whole grain toast instead of eggs with a side of animal cruelty.

“Hormone use in Cattle Production has Been Found to be Safe by Scientists all Over the World Including the World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization (WHO/FAO).”

The American Meat Institute tries to debunk many of the ‘myths’ of the meat industry in their handy dandy PDF pamphlet, but these assertions are all underscored with one final statement at the end of the document: “The American Meat Institute (AMI) represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America.” Note the use of the word interests. Of course it’s in the meat industry’s interest to tell you their policies and procedures are safe! Also remember that the WHO and FAO do not dictate policy, but rather advise guidelines. These organizations ultimately have no control over what meat companies in the United States do, so their supposed approval of hormone use doesn’t mean all that much.

“In Food Animals, FDA Has Approved the Use of Antibiotics”

Sure, technically the FDA does approve the use of antibiotics in animals farmed for consumption. But if you continue to read the FDA’s stance on antibiotics, they realize that overuse of antibiotics may contribute to disease. Even worse, they go further to say “there is currently no system to track the precise amount of antibiotics used in food animals in the United States.” Basically, even if antibiotics were to blame, the FDA has no way of knowing this or mitigating the problem. For an agency that reputedly has the utmost regulatory power in the food world, they are practically helpless.

Fortunately, plant-based proteins are naturally antibiotic-free! Choosing whole grains, legumes, and other plant-based proteins is a far superior choice than meat loaded with antibiotics.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“Chicken Consists of High-Quality Protein (That is, Protein That Contains the Eight Essential Amino Acids) and a Relatively Low Amount of Fat.”

The National Chicken Council rants and raves about how good chicken is for us and how it’s a low-fat source of protein. But did they forget about all the yummy plant-based proteins that are practically fat free? Beans, legumes, whole grains, and even certain vegetables have loads of protein with minimal fat. The very argument the council uses to promote poultry consumption could very well be said about plant-based proteins as well.

If it’s one thing you take away today, it’s that you need to do your research! Research the foods and the food companies you buy from to the point of interrogation. They’ll say practically anything to make you think their product is healthy or that it’s in your best interest to purchase it.

Image source: fredo/Flickr

Advertisement