Eating less meat by 2050: are plant-based alternatives really good for your health?

The Brussels government’s Air Climat Plan proposes to reduce its meat consumption by 50% by 2050, because “meat is not necessarily good for your health – in any case red meat – and it is bad for you. environment”, according to Alain Maron, the Brussels Minister of Health. Plant-based alternatives exist, including “fake” meats. But are they really good for our health?

“Meat isn’t necessarily healthy – certainly red meat – and it’s bad for the environment.” These are comments made by Alain Maron, Minister in charge of Health in Brussels. Ecolo wants us to reduce our meat consumption by 50% by 2050. This project is part of the Air Climate Plan of the Brussels government.

These statements did not make everyone agree, especially on the set of It’s not every day on Sunday, where several Brussels and Walloon deputies spoke about this important ambition. Starting with Sabine Laruelle, who points out that in the Walloon Region, “We have lost 30% of our cattle in 30 years.” Belgium is one of the countries “Where we eat the least meat”she continues.

find a balance

What bothers her in Alain Maron’s plan? “We do not take into account the type of production we have, especially in the Walloon Region.” For her, Flanders is much more problematic than Wallonia, with massive production of poultry and pigs, “so white meat”insists the Walloon MP MR.

“I would have really preferred to say that we have to find seasonality”she notes, specifying that we have an omnivorous diet, with a sector “reasonable, responsible and resolutely in line with the transition.”

For Sabine Laruelle, it is clear that we must favor local production, while teaching children about seasonality and how to fight against food waste. Arguments on which Marc-Jean Ghyssels joined him: “I think we should continue to eat meat, but of better quality and in less quantity.” The Brussels MP believes that it is still too early to set such distant objectives, because “2050 is a long way off.” But it is necessary to work on the importation of meat which, according to him, poses problem. “Get meat in Brazil, over which we have no control.”

Plant-based alternatives, good or bad?

More and more Belgians are paying attention to their meat consumption. And plant-based alternatives are emerging. “Consumers are aware that we must do something about food if we want to achieve the objectives”, notes Eric Bosly, Managing Director of Cosucra, specializing in vegetable meat. For him, the plant is “the only solution to be able to provide this reduction in CO2 impact.”

His company markets plant-based meats produced in France and Belgium. But are these alternatives really healthy for our health? Everything depends on the composition of the product, according to Damien Pauquet. He is a nutritionist for high-level athletes and works in particular with Standard de Liège and the Bingo women’s cycling team. “You have to analyze the labeling and see the addictives used, if there is no added sugar, or breadcrumbs, added fats… If it’s relatively pure, then it’s an interesting alternative but you have to really check the production and the composition of the different ingredients of this one”he points.

It’s all about finding balance. He’s talking about flexitarianism”or make 50% vegetable – 50% animal, or even 80% vegetable – 20% animal. “Because the biological value of a piece of meat is extremely high, so it’s effective but it can also be too inflammatory or even acidifying. So, I think we have to adjust and vary in legumes, seitan, korn, cereal… “explains Damien Pauquet.

Whatever, “Let’s give as much information as possible to our fellow citizens, and let them make their choice without new taxation”concludes the Brussels PS deputy, Marc-Jean Ghyssels.

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