Vegan burgers make men feel fuller than beef, study finds
As plant-based burgers get tastier and the health benefits become clearer, we might soon see more carnivores go meatless.
- A recent study compared mens' physiological responses after eating beef and plant-based burgers.
- All men said they felt fuller after eating the plant-based burger.
- Vegan burgers are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. and abroad, likely due to their health and environmental benefits.
Which do you think would leave you feeling more satiated: a cheeseburger made of good ol'-fashioned meat and cheese, or a vegan burger with tofu? The likely answer is the vegan burger, according to new research.
In a 2018 study — it was published in the journal Nutrients on December 6 — researchers asked a group of participants to eat both of these meals on separate days. The group comprised 60 men — 20 healthy, 20 obese, 20 with type 2 diabetes — all of whom had their physiological responses recorded after each meal.
The results surprised the researchers: All of the men, including healthy participants, reported feeling fuller after eating the vegan burger. Why? It seems to be that vegan meals produce higher levels of beneficial gastrointestinal hormones that are involved in the "regulation of glucose metabolism, energy homeostasis, satiety, and weight management," the researchers wrote.
Although it's still unclear exactly what they do, these hormones have been a focus of study among scientists looking for ways to treat obesity and diabetes. According to the new study's researchers:
"Our results indicate there is an increase in gut hormones and satiety, following consumption of a single plant-based meal with tofu when compared with an energy- and macronutrient-matched processed-meat meat and cheese meal, in healthy, obese and diabetic men..."
Another factor might be the high fiber content of the vegan burger, though the researchers noted that "most acute studies of meals differing in fibre consumption did not demonstrate enhanced satiety."
The study had several limitations, namely that it examined a small test sample of only men, and it only examined physiological responses after two specific meals — not a habitual diet. Still, the researchers suggested plant-based diets could be useful in treatments for diabetes and obesity.
"Our findings indicate that plant-based meals with tofu may be an effective tool to increase postprandial secretion of gastrointestinal hormones, as well as promote satiety, compared to processed meat and cheese, in healthy, obese, and diabetic men," they wrote. "These positive properties may have practical implications for the prevention of type 2 diabetes."
Vegan burgers begin to dominate menus
Veggie and vegan burgers are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., with restaurants such as McDonald's, Red Robin, Denny's, The Cheesecake Factory and even White Castle all now offering meatless sandwich options.
One of the biggest commercial successes in the industry comes from Impossible Foods, a San Francisco-based company that makes the much-talked-about Impossible Burger that browns and bleeds like real red meat. This convincing feature has won over even some dedicated carnivores, many of whom also probably appreciate the health benefits of going meatless: The newest Impossible Burger, for example, contains zero cholesterol, half the fat and fewer calories than a beef burger.
It's also easy to see how the environmental benefits of plant-based burgers might convince some people to make the switch, considering that raising cattle and other livestock is a major contributor to global emissions.
A 2018 study from the University of Michigan, commissioned by the plant-based burger company Beyond Meat, compared the environmental costs of producing meatless and traditional beef burgers, finding that producing meatless burgers takes:
- 99 percent less water
- 93 percent less land
- 90 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions
- Nearly 50 percent less energy
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The idea of 'absolute time' is an illusion. Physics and subjective experience reveal why.
- Since Einstein posited his theory of general relativity, we've understood that gravity has the power to warp space and time.
- This "time dilation" effect occurs even at small levels.
- Outside of physics, we experience distortions in how we perceive time — sometimes to a startling extent.
Physics without time<p>In his book "The Order of Time," Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli suggests that our perception of time — our sense that time is forever flowing forward — could be a highly subjective projection. After all, when you look at reality on the smallest scale (using equations of quantum gravity, at least), time vanishes.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If I observe the microscopic state of things," writes Rovelli, "then the difference between past and future vanishes … in the elementary grammar of things, there is no distinction between 'cause' and 'effect.'"</p><p>So, why do we perceive time as flowing <em>forward</em>? Rovelli notes that, although time disappears on extremely small scales, we still obviously perceive events occur sequentially in reality. In other words, we observe entropy: Order changing into disorder; an egg cracking and getting scrambled.</p><p>Rovelli says key aspects of time are described by the second law of thermodynamics, which states that heat always passes from hot to cold. This is a one-way street. For example, an ice cube melts into a hot cup of tea, never the reverse. Rovelli suggests a similar phenomenon might explain why we're only able to perceive the past and not the future.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Any time the future is definitely distinguishable from the past, there is something like heat involved," Rovelli wrote for the <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/ce6ef7b8-429a-11e8-93cf-67ac3a6482fd" target="_blank"><em>Financial Times</em></a>. "Thermodynamics traces the direction of time to something called the 'low entropy of the past', a still mysterious phenomenon on which discussions rage."</p>
The strange subjectivity of time<p>Time moves differently atop a mountain than it does on a beach. But you don't need to travel any distance at all to experience strange distortions in your perception of time. In moments of life-or-death fear, for example, your brain would release large amounts of adrenaline, which would speed up your internal clock, causing you to perceive the outside world as moving slowly.<br></p><p>Another common distortion occurs when we focus our attention in particular ways.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If you're thinking about how time is <em>currently</em> passing by, the biggest factor influencing your time perception is attention," Aaron Sackett, associate professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas, told <em><a href="https://gizmodo.com/why-does-time-slow-down-and-speed-up-1840133782" target="_blank">Gizmodo</a></em>.<em> "</em>The more attention you give to the passage of time, the slower it tends to go. As you become distracted from time's passing—perhaps by something interesting happening nearby, or a good daydreaming session—you're more likely to lose track of time, giving you the feeling that it's slipping by more quickly than before. "Time flies when you're having fun," they say, but really, it's more like "time flies when you're thinking about other things." That's why time will also often fly by when you're definitely <em>not</em> having fun—like when you're having a heated argument or are terrified about an upcoming presentation."</p><p>One of the most mysterious ways people experience time-perception distortions is through psychedelic drugs. In an interview with <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/14/carlo-rovelli-exploding-commonsense-notions-order-of-time-interview" target="_blank"><em>The Guardian</em></a>, Rovelli described a time he experimented with LSD.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It was an extraordinarily strong experience that touched me also intellectually," he said. "Among the strange phenomena was the sense of time stopping. Things were happening in my mind but the clock was not going ahead; the flow of time was not passing any more. It was a total subversion of the structure of reality."<br></p><p>It seems few scientists or philosophers believe time is completely an illusion.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"What we call <em>time</em> is a rich, stratified concept; it has many layers," Rovelli told <em><a href="https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.4.20190219a/full/" target="_blank">Physics Today</a>.</em> "Some of time's layers apply only at limited scales within limited domains. This does not make them illusions."</p>What <em>is</em> an illusion is the idea that time flows at an absolute rate. The river of time might be flowing forever forward, but it moves at different speeds, between people, and even within your own mind.
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- The scientist's new paper seeks to reconcile classical physics and quantum mechanics.
- The theory claims that natural selection produces both atoms and "observers".
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