6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence: Meat Lovers’ Guide to Plant-Based Meats

(ABC 6 NEWS) – With summer weather comes the tradition of the backyard barbeque. Burgers. Hot dogs. Plant-based meats?

That’s right. As more people try to get more veggies and less meat on their plates, these faux meats may end up on the grill.. But do they taste any good?

“Our panel of tasters thought none were identical to real meat, but some came close. We actually found at least one in each category to be very good,” Amy Keating, Consumer Reports Nutritionist said.

CR’s panelists found the Impossible and Beyond brands to be the most meatlike among the burgers.

Impossible’s Chicken Nuggets came the closest to tasting like a typical chicken nugget.

Now the main reason many people might consider switching to eating plant-based meats is because they think it’s healthier. – Is that true?

“While many of the products we tested had fewer calories and less artery-clogging saturated fat, most had more sodium than real meat. And Americans already consume too much sodium,” Keating said.

A closer look at the ingredients will reveal that even though these foods are plant-based they are still ultra-processed.

“The evidence supporting “plant based” diets points to eating more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, tofu and beans and these mock meats are more processed and are not whole foods,” Keating said.

Many of these plant-based meats also claim to be better for the environment. While that may be true, CR points out that eating grass-fed animals raised on sustainable farms may also be beneficial for the environment.

Bottom line – these plant-based meats are a mixed bag. While they aren’t the healthiest of foods, they can be a good thing if you are having trouble giving up red meat.