Ask a Dietitian: Is Seitan Dangerous For You?



The place tofu was the one well-known meat substitute, tempeh and soy protein rapidly caught on. And now, seitan is right here to change issues up. Pronounced say-tan, chances are you’ll surprise if seitan is really a very good supply of protein for vegetarians and folk trying to up their amino acid consumption sans the animal merchandise.

To uncover simply that, we chatted with a few dietitians (and one well-known Olympic chef and restaurateur) for every thing there’s to know concerning the buzzy protein supply. In case you’re curious the way it holds as much as its animal counterparts, whether or not or not it is too processed, or if it’s price including into your eating regimen as an entire, maintain scrolling.

Forward, every thing you must find out about seitan with regard to your well being.

What Is Seitan?

In accordance with NYC-based dietitian Jennifer Maeng of Chelsea Vitamin, seitan is made out of gluten and water and is commonly promoted as a high-protein, low carb meat different. “In contrast to tofu and tempeh, that are made out of soy, seitan is a superb meat different for vegans and vegetarians with a soy allergy,” she explains, noting, nevertheless, that those that have celiac illness or gluten sensitivity ought to keep away from seitan due to the gluten content material.

One of many largest issues with meat options is the feel. In terms of seitan, Centr chef Dan Churchill says that it has a agency, chewy texture that stands as much as that of meat. In fact, when you’re a vegetarian and don’t want to devour issues that mimic animal textures, this may not be thought of a very good factor.

In case you’ve by no means heard of seitan, dietitian and Built-in Consuming founder Maria Sorbara Mora says that there’s a very good probability that you just’ve heard of it by its different names: wheat meat, gluten, wheat protein, or wheat gluten. “It’s most frequently used as a base in meatless deli slices, hotdogs, and bacon, in addition to merchandise that appear like meat, like grounds and strips,” she provides.

Is Seitan Dangerous For You?

Usually meat options are assumed to be more healthy than their animal counterparts. Whereas that is usually true when it comes to ldl cholesterol and fats content material, Maeng factors out that as a result of how processed meat options might be makes them slightly bit questionable. “Watch the labels of pre-packaged [highly-processed] seitan, as a result of it may well have a excessive salt content material,” she warns, once more noting that those that have celiac illness or gluten sensitivity ought to keep away from seitan due to the gluten content material.

Though Maeng urges of us to watch their seitan consumption, Mora says that, total, seitan is a reasonably sensible choice in relation to meat options. In any case, all meat options are processed to some extent, and seitan has a plethora of well being advantages that make it particularly interesting.

The Advantages of Seitan

  • Nutritious
  • Excessive in protein
  • Good supply of wholesome minerals
  • Low in calorie, carbs, and fats
  • Extra bioavailable

Seitan is nutritious—it’s excessive in protein and incorporates many minerals together with selenium, iron, phosphorus, calcium, and copper,” Maeng says, noting {that a} single serving of seitan is low in energy, carbohydrates, and fats.

Churchill, who was Lindsey Vonn’s chef for the 2018 Olympics, provides to this, noting that there’s proof to recommend that plant-based proteins are extra bioavailable to their meaty counterparts, that means their vitamins can probably be higher absorbed into the physique.1 “This goes for tofu as effectively,” he says. “In case you want extra protein in your eating regimen, and are vegetarian or vegan, or avoiding meat for any purpose, it could possibly be an choice for you. It is also one thing enjoyable to experiment with making your self—when you’re up for it!”

Very like tofu and tempeh, seitan simply absorbs different flavors. Strive seasoning seitan in a single day in slightly olive oil and herbs (or sauce) of your alternative to maximise its taste profile.

The Drawbacks Seitan

Since seitan is a plant protein, Mora factors out that it doesn’t comprise all important amino acids. “To make it full, you’ll must pair this meals with different plant proteins similar to legumes, grains, and nuts,” she says. Moreover, she factors out that, since seitan is a processed meals, it incorporates preservatives similar to sulfites, which you will not need in abundance in your eating regimen. Lastly, she says that some manufacturers have excessive sodium content material, so it’s all the time price eagle-eyeing the substances label earlier than including a bundle to your cart.

“Total, it is necessary to notice that like the rest, an excessive amount of is just not nice, and too little is just not nice,” Churchill says. “To say that we want seitan might be not correct, as we are able to get protein in different methods, and seitan, versus different meat options, does not have a whole amino acid profile. In that regard, it additionally might not supply as a lot of a whole dietary profile in comparison with different issues.”

How Usually to Eat Seitan

As Churchill identified, it’s about discovering the right steadiness when incorporating seitan into your eating regimen. “Eat it sparingly,” he says. “It is not essentially a as soon as a day factor, and when you assume you want a plant-based choice I would really recommend tofu over seitan.”

That mentioned, Mora says there’s no denying that people can profit from including seitan to their menu—particularly because it is available in a wide range of taste profiles. Simply don’t make it a brilliant common prevalence, given its potential excessive sodium content material.

The Takeaway

All in all, seitan is a wholesome meat substitute due to its low calorie and carb and excessive protein content material. That mentioned, Maeng reminds us that it’s not thought of a whole protein as a result of its lack of lysine and threonine—two important amino acids. “With the intention to get all the important vitamins your physique wants, seitan must be paired with lentils, nuts, seeds, or beans,” she says. So whereas seitan is undoubtedly a wholesome choice, it’s not one that may, single handedly, exchange protein present in meat, as meat protein is full.

  • Are you able to make your personal seitan at residence?

    Sure, seitan might be made at residence utilizing important wheat gluten, water or vegetable broth, soy sauce and seasonings. You then knead it, simmer it, let it cool after which slice it. Wheat flour may also be used as a substitute of significant wheat gluten. Try this recipe for making seitan at residence.

  • Is seitan gluten-free?

    No, seitan is definitely made out of gluten– which is the protein that’s in flour. You probably have an allergy to gluten or celiac illness2, you shouldn’t eat seitan.

  • What number of energy and the way a lot protein is in seitan?

    Seitan is an efficient supply of protein. One fourth cup of important wheat gluten, the principle ingredient of seitan, has 110 energy and 23 grams of protein. Remember the fact that relying on what different flavoring brokers are used that the calorie depend can differ.

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