Improving plant-based meat analogues by evaluating effects on human health

Project: PhD

Project Details


Diets with little or no meat are considered healthy and sustainable by the general public and consequently, consumers are increasing the use of plant-based meat analogues (PBMA's) in their diets. In the development of PBMA's the main focus has been on creating a tasty product highly similar to meat and on the replacement of meat protein by protein from plant origin so far. The processing needed to achieve this strongly compromises sustainability and might reduce potential health assets of the product, as the required fractionation needs water, energy, and chemicals, and it also leads to protein and bioactive phytochemical loss and inclusion of salt. Consumers may report choosing PBMA's for health reasons, but few plant-based meat analogues have been developed with health benefits as first design criterion. Nevertheless, meat analogues are a growing novel food category, of which the knowledge regarding their impact on human health is very limited. The goal of the project that this PhD research is part of is therefore to investigate the health effects of current PBMA's as part of a healthy diet and to develop strategies for health supporting product characteristics that still consider sustainability. This PhD project will consist of a landmark study; a large fully dietary controlled intervention study in which the effect of repetitive daily consumption of PBMA's on the function of the intestinal microbiome and cardiometabolic health will be compared with the effects of consuming an animal meat-based diet. The overlapping project that this PhD project is part of will also include an in-depth in-vitro investigation of the effect of current and alternative processing steps on health assets of PBMA's with the final aim to develop design rules for ingredients to be used in PBMA's that are optimized in terms of health, while not compromising on sustainability.
Effective start/end date1/11/22 → …


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