Fake Meat

A need to reduce saturated fats and cholesterol to prevent heart disease has lead to the search for meat alternatives. Texturized vegetarian protein (TVP) and mock meats are the most popular meat replacers available in the market today. Many of these foods have been developed within an Asian culture and have been part of our food traditions for many decades. They have not been subjected to regulatory approvals like the newer fat and sugar replacing products.

These 'fake meats' provide some protein and contain no saturated fats and cholesterol naturally found in animal products. Vegetarians and non-vegetarians can now enjoy this meat look-alike as it still maintains some of the taste, texture and flavor of the original food.

Texturized vegetarian protein: TVP, made from soy flour, contains valuable nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and fibre. TVP is made from defatted soybean concentrate. TVP can be found in the form of chunks, granules, flakes or slices.

It is low in fat, and high in protein. Reconstituted with water, it can be used as a meat replacer in main dishes and processed foods. Combined with appropriate grains, this food can help balance a meal. One added advantage is that as it comes without added cholesterol and saturated fat, it may help reduce blood cholesterol levels.

Mock meat: Mock meat resembles actual meat and seafood. Mock meat adds color, variety and texture to an otherwise plain vegetarian meal.

It is made from an extract of wheat protein called "gluten". The protein quality of this plant-based meat substitute can be improved by combining it with a variety of grains and nuts. Soybased 'fake meats' are of better nutritional value than gluten based.

Most of these food items, however, are deep-fried for added flavor and texture. This negates the advantage of it being low in fat and cholesterol. These foods are very popular amongst the vegetarians in Singapore, and can be very easily purchased at specialty stores in Geylang, Joo Chiat and Toa Payoh. It is not advisable for people suffering with celiac disease, a condition where wheat gluten is not metabolized to take products prepared with gluten.


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