Our goal at Luvo is to help you make it easy to make good food choices. We support that with our 3-2-none philosophy: the right balance of protein, veggies and whole grains, not too much sodium or added sugar, no antibiotics and no artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners.
We also believe in using as close to the whole, real forms of food as possible. Which one of the reason why we do not use certain ingredients that are often used in other “health food” brands, including whey, mycoprotein (fungus/mold), seitan (wheat gluten) and soy-based products like soy protein isolate, and textured vegetable protein (TVP). Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Milk contains two types of protein: whey, which makes up about 20% of milk protein, and casein, which is about 80% of the protein in milk. Whey is the watery part of milk that separates from the casein during cheese production. The whey undergoes a series of processing steps to become whey protein powder. Whey is easily digestible and includes all of the essential amino acids including the three branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, valine and isoleucine. These factors have made it popular among athletes and people who are active. Whey protein powder is added to many protein bars, shakes, and other foods. While it can be one way to add protein to a food product, we here at Luvo use whole plant proteins instead. This allows our products to be enjoyed by everyone, including people who follow vegetarian or vegan diets (since whey comes from dairy, it isn’t included in some types of diets). Plus, whole plant proteins like pulses, which include peas, lentils, chickpeas and dried beans, nuts and seeds offer a whole host of health benefits.
Mycoprotein is made by fermenting a fungus (aka mold) with glucose and some minerals. It’s then mixed with an egg and wheat protein binder and turned into faux-meat products called Quorn. Since these products contain eggs, they don’t work for people who follow a vegan diet. They are also not gluten-free. There have also been a number of adverse-reaction reports, with people complaining of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, cramps and trouble breathing.
As of September 2017, all Quorn products containing mycoprotein — which makes up more than 50 percent of the ingredients in some of the products — will have to carry the following statement, including the parenthetical material:
“Mycoprotein is a mold (member of the fungi family). There have been rare cases of allergic reactions to products that contain mycoprotein.”
Seitan is made from wheat gluten and has the look and texture similar to meat when cooked. If you have wheat sensitivity or celiac disease then you will want to steer clear of seitan. While it is a protein food, it is not a complete protein – it does not contain all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need to function. As a highly processed food, it can also contain high amounts of sodium.
While moderate consumption of minimally processed soy foods may have some benefits as being a calcium rich, low fat protein, overconsumption has been linked to nutrition related issues.
Tofu contains phytoestrogens, compounds that have an estrogen like effect on the body which blocks normal estrogen production and have been linked to breast cancer. Thyroid disruption – goitrogens that are in soy products are thyroid hormone blockers that can interfere with thyroid hormone production and specifically cause hypothyroidism. High soy consumption can lead to Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D deficiencies. Tofu contains B12 analogs that simulate vitamin B12, but can’t be used by the body the way I uses real B12. Soy foods increase your body’s vitamin D requirement leading to a vitamin D deficiency. Soy products like tofu contain several highly concerning antinutrients that can lead to leaky gut, gas, kidney stones, and poor protein digestion. Lastly, soy is one of the most commonly genetically engineered products in the world.
TVP – Textured Vegetable Protein
For most faux meat products, the process begins with soy protein, or textured vegetable protein (TVP), in the form of powder. TVP can be a mixture of soy and wheat glutens.
The biggest challenge in creating a convincing meat alternative often boils down to texture. Soy protein is globular while actual meat protein is fibrous, so food manufacturers have to alter the soy’s molecular structure.
This is typically done by exposing the soy protein to heat, acid or a solvent and then running the mixture through a food extruder that reshapes it. When you denature the molecules, they open up and become more fibrous. Then a gel is added, such as carrageenan or xanthan gum, something that will hold a little bit of water, and what you get is something that vaguely resembles the texture of meat that flavors can be added to.
Soybeans are routinely processed with hexane (a petroleum chemical), in order to convert them into TVP. Various amounts of hexane are regularly found in processed soy food products. To elaborate further, according to a report from the Cornucopia Institute:
“Hexane is a byproduct of gasoline refining. Soybean processors use it as a solvent—a cheap and efficient way of extracting oil from soybeans, a necessary step to making most conventional soy oil and protein ingredients. Whole soybeans are literally bathed in hexane to separate the soybeans’ oil from protein.”
We carefully craft our meals to obtain optimal nutrition with whole foods. We have demonstrated that you can have a full serving of protein, whole grains, and responsible sugar and sodium with no antibiotics, dyes or preservatives. We call it our 3-2-None promise.
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