The effects of substituting red and processed meat with mycoprotein on markers of colorectal cancer risk and systemic health

Farsi, Dominic Nathan (2022) The effects of substituting red and processed meat with mycoprotein on markers of colorectal cancer risk and systemic health. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral Thesis)
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Mycoprotein is a meat alternative made from Fusarium venenatum. Mycoprotein, as well as other meat alternatives, are used to replace meat by health and environmental conscious consumers, however these products are not direct nutritional replacements for meat, and their health effects are not fully understood. Mycoprotein is high in protein, fibre and low in saturated fat, which make it an interesting meat alternative with potential benefits to health beyond meat displacement.

The work in this thesis compares the effects of substituting a high red and processed meat diet with mycoprotein on gut and cardiometabolic health. The original aim was to investigate whether the putative mechanisms linking red and processed meat consumption to colorectal cancer risk might be attenuated by replacing meat with mycoprotein.

In a dietary intervention study in healthy male adults, I show that substituting red and processed meat with mycoprotein positively influences gut health, by lowering intestinal genotoxicity, and by increasing the relative abundance of beneficial gut bacteria.

In a secondary analysis of the dietary intervention study data, I also show that mycoprotein consumption may improve cardiometabolic disease risk related endpoints.

Finally, using nationally representative data, I show that at a population level, displacement of meat with mycoprotein and other meat alternatives would influence nutritional intake and potentially nutritional status in the UK population. Notably, it would allow consumers to achieve the dietary guidelines around fibre but raises addressable concerns about certain nutrients.

This work is timely, given the current focus on agricultural systems in the context of climate change. My data supports arguments around the potential healthfulness of choosing mycoprotein, which may help reduce uncertainty amongst potential consumers and thereby increase public confidence in mycoprotein as a replacement for meat. The findings may be of interest to the nutrition and public health community who have struggled to increase fibre consumption in the population and have concerns about the high meat content of the western diet. The findings may also be of interest to those working in the burgeoning meat alternative space. Mycoprotein has considerable potential as part of a healthier, greener food future.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: meat alternatives, gut microbiome, metabolomics, genotoxicity, cardiometabolic health
Subjects: A100 Pre-clinical Medicine
B400 Nutrition
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Applied Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2022 07:51
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2022 08:01

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