As plant-based protein makers like Impossible Foods and the newly public Beyond Meat take the meals enterprise by way of the storm, the question of whether their merchandise is higher for clients than actual meat continues to be very a whole lot open, says former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman.
“We can’t virtually promote it … As necessarily better for you, due to the fact we don’t recognize,” Glickman, who now runs the Aspen Institute’s Congressional Program, stated Tuesday on CNBC’s “Fast Money.”
“Some humans devour it. It genuinely won’t harm you. It can be very tasty. But it doesn’t mean it’s higher for you,” he said.
Glickman, who recently co-authored an op-ed within the New York Times titled “We Need Better Answers on Nutrition,” stated the “loss of nutrients technology” in the United States as a first-rate difficulty in terms of knowing what’s in the meals we devour.
When it involves plant-based meats, for instance, “I suppose we understand enough to know that it’s healthy, and we realize that it has a few proteins in it,” he stated. “But as a preferred rule, aside from the plant-primarily based meat, we do now not realize enough about what’s in our food.”
That lack of awareness manifests itself lots extra broadly than people suppose, Glickman said. Diet-associated diseases are the No. 1 reason of mortality inside the U.S., with terrible eating behavior main to nearly 1,000 deaths consistent with day, according to Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
“There’s an old expression, ‘You are what you eat.’ But nutrition has by no means been a critical have a look at of technological know-how in the National Institutes of Health,” said Glickman, whose New York Times piece referred to as for the NIH to establish a brand new institute committed specifically to nutrients research.
“We have a look at principal diseases like heart disorder, most cancers, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, however, we don’t do sufficient look at in how you may prevent the ailment from taking place. And meals are a big part of that,” he said. “So, I genuinely help plant-primarily based meat, however, I don’t suppose everyone has to have a look at that because of the nirvana or the handiest strategy to the hassle. We want to look at this throughout the board to attempt to help people make sensible food alternatives based totally on correct technology.”
Part of the solution might be more investment from the federal government, Glickman said. According to a 2015 study, federal funding for nutrition studies is roughly $1.5 billion in step with year. For evaluation, U.S. Residents spent over $50 billion in January of 2015 ingesting at restaurants, in keeping with the American Enterprise Institute.
“I think the federal government have to spend loads extra money and attempt investigating the technology of nutrition usually,” Glickman argued. “A lot of oldsters are very pressured about what’s accurate for you. We exchange all the time: ought to you drink complete-fats milk or low-fat milk?”
And even as a few segments of the National Institutes of Health do behavior nutritional studies of their very own, the efforts are largely piecemeal considering how an awful lot we nonetheless don’t realize approximately our food, Glickman stated.
“There’s honestly a lot of those who worry approximately meat for lots of reasons inclusive of environmental problems, but meat is a completely important a part of the diet,” Glickman said. “Plant-primarily based meat does provide a few proteins in there. You’ve got pea additives and other matters [like] legumes that upload protein to your diet. But whether or not it’s better for you than meat is genuinely something we simply actually don’t know but.”