Does eating chicken interfere with the body hormones

Artificial soy chicken bites like the real thing

Columbia / Vienna - Researchers from the University of Missouri have presented a chicken imitation made from soy, which is said to come very close to the original. Thanks to a special processing technique, they succeeded in making a chicken breast from soy flour, which - in terms of taste, consistency and appearance - is said to be confusingly similar to a real piece of chicken.

Soy products with a chicken flavor and color have been around before. The researchers' aim was to imitate the structure and bite quality of the chicken meat. "In order to achieve a better imitation, we developed a process that gives the soy a fibrous consistency, which gives the soy a chewy bite like a chicken. You can now cut it into irregular, coarse-grained pieces like the original," reports research director Fu-Hung Hsieh .

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75 percent water content

To do this, the researchers took proteins from the soy flour and pressed them through a cylinder with two drills while they were boiling, while water was added at the same time. In contrast to conventional soy products, the water content is up to 75 percent. "This high liquid content gives the soy a very similar texture to the chicken - in addition to the similar appearance," says Hsieh.

According to the researchers, the advantages of the invention for the consumer are of a health nature. "Soy contains important nutrients that can lower cholesterol, strengthen bones or prevent prostate, breast and colorectal tumors. Soy is also a good source of essential fatty acids." The only thing that stands in the way of marketing the product is fine-tuning the taste.

Critical look

However, nutritionist Alexa Meyer from the University of Vienna takes a more critical view of the product. "Valuable phytoestrogens and vitamins from soybeans are likely to be lost during processing. One wonders how healthy this soy meat really is," says the expert. Meyer considers the aromas necessary for the taste to be harmless. "However, it is an artificial product. Some people cannot tolerate certain additives, and many are also allergic to soy products."

The invention could of course be useful for vegetarians, as soy products only became socially acceptable as a result of the vegetarian wave. "If you don't eat meat for ethical reasons, that's a welcome alternative," says Meyer. From an ecological point of view, the production of chicken consumes fewer resources than beef or pork, but a lot of grain is also lost in chicken farming. "In addition, conventional chicken farms often use a lot of drugs," says Meyer. (red / pte)