Remarkable as it may seem, 99% of the proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and other biochemical scomponents making up whole food are a complete mystery. So how can scientists replicate those components in lab food? And what are we missing in our diets if those components aren’t all there?
Story at a glance:
An estimated 99% of the components making up whole food are a complete mystery. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference details 188 nutritional components of food, including 38 flavonoids, yet scientists estimate there are more than 26,000 different biochemicals in our food.
We know even less about the constituents of processed foods and synthetic foods, which falsely claim to be “equivalents” to whole foods, such as “animal-free meats” or “animal-free milk.”
Scientists cannot create equivalence when they don’t even know what 85% or more of the whole food they’re trying to replicate consists of.
A paper published in the April issue of Animal Frontiers warns that cultured products are not nutritionally equivalent to the meats they’re intended to replace.
A May report by the Food and Agriculture Organization concluded there are at least 53 potential health hazards associated with lab-grown meat, including the possibility of contamination with heavy metals, microplastics, nanoplastics and chemicals, allergenic additives, toxic components, antibiotics and prions.