by Arun Balaji
The Beyond Burger (NASDAQ: BYND) and Impossible Burgers, among many others, have taken the country by storm as cost-effective and great tasting plant-based alternatives to meat based cuisine. More than just a namesake, gag, and the subject of challenges for many that appear on YouTube, these alternatives provide a legitimate solution to those that want to remove meat from their diet without missing out on “that meaty flavor.”
Furthermore, scientists have recently found that meat consumption is actually detrimental to humans, as among many reasons, the digestive systems simply aren’t built to process animal meat. Studies have also linked meat consumption to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancer. Additionally, animaltarian efforts that argue the immorality, inhumanity, arguing the ethics of taking a life, an angle that hasn’t been challenged in recent memory.
Hence, it’s to no surprise that the prominence of animal agriculture and the consumption of red meat and poultry has experienced a steep decline over the past decade, as plant-based substitutes garner a steady follower base.
What is surprising, though, is the little-known superlative benefit surrounding plant meat consumption. It’s actually good for the environment. Researchers found that the slaughtering of cows and other animals releases an extraordinary amount of nitrogen into the environment. Although it isn’t carbon, the element most commonly associated with pollution, nitrogen is a greenhouse gas, and it is warming our Earth at an unnatural level. This process is unavoidable, and even after iterations of improvements, the production of nitrogen is still significant. As a result, animal slaughtering has produced 500 nitrogen-flooded dead zones in the ocean, emitting more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars, planes, and all other forms of transportation combined. Plant-based substitutes avoid all of these emissions, providing a clean and environmentally friendly option to consume meat.
So the debate is brought up once more in our time. Should we eat meat? Ultimately, this question really doesn’t have an answer as the nutritional benefits meat offers has its negative counterparts, much like everything in our plant– everything has its positive and negative. Though this debate can stand the test of time, our planet is on a ticking clock as global warming persists, and little changes to our diet could be the deciding difference.
Picture credit: Impossible Foods