It appears that plant-based diets are becoming all the rage. It isn’t uncommon now to see plant-based chicken nuggets, plant-based burger patties, and plant-based beef jerky on the shelves at the grocery store.  The label will tell you that it is very similar in terms of nutrition to regular meats, but according to a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report, this isn’t exactly the case. 

An analysis of 500 studies found that animal products contain nutrients important to our health that are very hard to get from the plant-based versions of those products. These nutrients include high-quality protein, amino acids, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin B-12, selenium, choline, carnitine, creatine, and taurine. While getting enough of these nutrients is important for everyone, they are even more crucial for those who are pregnant or lactating, those who are older in age, as well as for children and teens during development.

So, while you may get a few of these nutrients from plant-based products, consuming real eggs, meats, and dairy products is a much better way to ensure that you are getting all of them as well as an adequate amount of each.

Ultimately, the most important consideration is to have a balanced, healthy diet. This includes your fruits and vegetables, meat proteins, dairy products, eggs, and whole grains. Plus, reduce your sugar consumption.

Arizona agriculture produces lots of animal protein products! Look for locally raised meats, dairy products, and eggs next time that you’re out grocery shopping. Not only will you be supporting your local farmers and ranchers, but you’ll also be getting high-quality protein products that are chock full of nutrients!  And thank you Arizona farmers and ranchers for all you do for agriculture and feeding Arizonans and the world.