Episode 99 – Mock Meats: Are they Healthier Than the Real Thing? 

Comparing Mock Meats to Their Meat Counterparts 

  • We will start with a fair analysis by comparing to higher fat meat products 
  • Often mock meats have oils added to them to give them a similar texture to meat. 
  • In particular coconut oil is used, which raises the saturated fat content. 
  • Not everything is about calories and macros, but let’s start there: 

A standard beef burger patty per 100g  = 216kcal, 15g protein, 16g fat 

A Beyond Burger patty per 100g = 256kcal, 18g protein, 20g fat 

4 star beef mince = 183kcal, 23g protein and 10g fat. Note that 3 star mince would be closer to 20g of fat and higher calorie. 

Naturali Plant Based Mince is 195kcal, 17g protein and 10g fat 

When compared to higher fat meats, mock meats have similar macros. 

Some examples even outperform e.g. beef sausages vs Tofurky sausages, where beef sausages have 13g protein and Tofurkey has 29g 

Lean Meat OR Healthy Fat Fish 

  • This comparison is wildly different for lean meat 
  • Chicken breast for example is 104kcal, 23g protein and 1.6g fat, per 100g 
  • One thing I like to point out in that example is that even 1/2kg of chicken breast is still well under 600kcal. It’s quite hard to overeat lean meat from a calorie perspective. Meanwhile 1/2kg of 3 star mince is well over 1000kcal. 
  • Higher fat fish such as salmon doesn’t have the same type of benefits, but comes alongside the well documented benefits of omega 3, as well as the benefits we often see from higher fish intake, if it is replacing other meats. 
  • These things are often not what mock meat is trying to replace, but it is worth mentioning in this discussion 


  • Due to the goal of replacing taste/texture of meat, alot of mock meats are a combo of highly processed, not super nutritious ingredients. 
  • They are often based on texturized pea or soy protein, oils, gums and thickeners and flavours. 
  • Whilst some products are fortified, much of the naturally occurring nutrients in the pea and soy are lost in processing  
  • Real meat on the other hand can contain a lot of iron, zinc, magnesium, B vitamins and potassium, amongst other things. 
  • However – there are also a lot of mock meat products that are made from less processed ingredients and have been able to retain much of their naturally occuring micronutrients (eg. Sunfed chicken and bacon) 

Cancer Risk Associated with Red and Processed Meats 

  • From the other perspective, red and processed meats are consistently linked with an increase in cancer. 
  • The risk of bowel cancer in particular is the strongest. 
  • Processed Meat: One relevant line from an article linked in the show notes is “An analysis of data from 10 studies estimated that every 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by about 18%” 
  • Red Meat: “If the association of red meat and colorectal cancer were proven to be causal, data from the same studies suggest that the risk of colorectal cancer could increase by 17% for every 100-gram portion of red meat eaten daily.” 

  • Healthy user bias can play a role in this area of research, but the link with bowel cancer still remains even after the best attempts to account for that.

Not All Mock Meats Are Created Equal 

Relevant Links/Resources

Is Mock Meat Healthier Than Real Meat? Blog Post

Cancer Risk and Red and Processed Meats