Fake Foods – Five ways to make eating a safer proposition in 2020
by Linda and Bill Bonvie
With all the mock meat, fake eggs and even bogus proteins making a big splash in 2019, it very well could be remembered as the year of ersatz edibles. But despite all the glowing advertising and discussion of how such plant products will save the world (along with your arteries), the truth is that they’re more closely related to chemical plants than plants that grow from the ground.
And considering how the general public is snapping up these offerings, it appears that we’re going in the opposite direction when it comes to our eating habits, despite all we should know by now.
Certainly, it’s not too late to make 2020 the year you start seeing these processed “foods” as exactly what they are – chemical concoctions that bear no resemblance to the provisions they’re masquerading as.
So, a great way to begin the year is to make a steadfast resolution to steer clear of all the fakes and impostors in restaurants and grocery stores, starting with these fraudulent “foods”:
#1 Stop with the phony meat already!
Despite all the hoopla, taste tests and contrived PR, mock meats such as The Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat are nothing more than ultra-processed foods that contain toxic, brain-damaging ingredients.
For example, take a look at some of the additives that comprise the Impossible Burger, which include soy protein concentrate, yeast extract and soy protein isolate – all ingredients that contain manufactured free glutamate (MfG), the same brain-damaging toxic component found in MSG. Whether it tastes good or just like meat is irrelevant, it’s not real food! Looking at the complete list of ingredients (which also includes a wide variety of added vitamins and minerals), you could easily mistake it for a can of cheap dog food.
Beyond Meat’s array of products also contain numerous sources of MfG in the form of pea protein isolate, rice protein, mung bean protein and other excitotoxic additives.
#2 If it didn’t come from a shell, don’t call it an egg
At least that’s what the FDA should be saying! But due to a bizarre, 80-year-old regulation, not only doesn’t the agency have a standard of identity (a legal description of what a particular food must look like and consist of); for eggs, it actually prohibits one from being made. When queried about this odd law, an FDA spokesman said that “no other foods” have such a restriction.
That ancient loophole must be how JUST (described on its website as a “food technology company”) managed to bring its JUST Egg product to market. Slapping EGG on the front of a bottle of yellow liquid that contains not a trace of anything originating from a chicken sure sounds like fraudulent advertising to me.
What this product does contain, however, are yet more sources of MfG in the form of mung bean protein isolate and natural flavors, along with an additive called transglutaminase, a.k.a. “meat glue.”
Meat glue is the subject of an entire chapter in our new book, A Consumer’s Guide to Toxic Food Additives (due to be released in March, 2020), but to summarize, transglutaminase, which is excreted by specially cultivated bacteria, can not only enable unscrupulous restaurants to “glue” together cheap cuts of meat and fish, but has been implicated by researchers in a “rising incidence of autoimmune disease” by triggering something called “tight junction dysfunction.” That refers to the “barrier and the fence” formed by connected cell membranes. When disrupted, it can lead to a wide variety of serious ailments.
The FDA says that these items fall into the category of “plant-based alternative products.” But just like alternative facts don’t belong in your news feed, these fake foods don’t belong on your dinner table.
# 3 Avoid the pea protein propaganda
Pea protein products are popping up everywhere, capitalizing on the familiar name of this humble round dinner-time veggie.
Our friends at the Truth in Labeling Campaign describe these products as being:
“…made of man-made amino acids manufactured in food processing plants with peas as the starting material. And each and every man-made/manufactured hydrolyzed pea protein will contain the three potentially toxic amino acids: aspartic acid, L-cysteine, and glutamic acid. This is true for every hydrolyzed protein. It may be called ‘natural,’ ‘organic,’ or ‘raw,’ but it will still contain potentially toxic aspartic acid, L-cysteine, and glutamic acid. There are no exceptions. And there are no toxic amino acids in whole protein.”
Pea protein products are sold as powders, incorporated into “health” bars, and even in a liquid line of drinks called Ripple.
#4 Ditch the big three genetically modified oils
Soy, corn and canola oil, made from the top three genetically modified crops, are being widely pushed as healthy “better-for-you” fats by groups such as the American Heart Association. Perhaps because of that, they are literally flying off the shelves in grocery stores.
If you’re at all familiar with the history of genetically modified organisms or GMOs, you’ll know how these “altered genes” were clandestinely introduced into agriculture and have gradually taken over large segments of the food supply with no real safety testing and some disturbing indications that they may not be nearly as innocuous as claimed. GMOs are also covered extensively in our new book.
And last, but certainly not least:
#5 Start reading food labels as if your life depended on it
If you’re going to eat processed foods – including organic ones – you must read the ingredient label. That’s the only way you will know if the food you’re considering consuming is safe to eat. The Nutrition Facts Label (NFL), which is two to three times larger than the ingredient panel, is a very poor source of information. Sure, it will provide you with information on portion sizes, calories, “sugars,” and other limited facts. But what it isn’t telling you is of far more importance.
For example, how is it that the “sugars” in a bottle of Coke and those in raw honey or pure maple syrup will be reported on the same line of the NFL with no indication that there could be significant nutritional differences between them?
And according to the NFL, fat is fat, be it in the form of unhealthy soy or corn oil or extra virgin olive oil from Spain.
Using this so-called “facts” label to learn about food won’t allow us to have the 20/20 vision we’re all going to need to stay one step ahead of whatever new witches’ brew food technologists are going to be cooking up for us this year.