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KFC Says It Will Provide Meat-Free Chicken for Its Customers in 2019

They’re here. Well, at least almost here. In about a year KFC will introduce its first frankenchicken, aka meat-free “chicken,” designed to help the company’s customers eat healthier by NOT eating its classic standard fare. In other words, faux chicken is about to make a debut in this famed fried chicken restaurant. The meat-free version will use the same 11 spices used to season its real chicken, so presumably, you won’t know the difference. While KFC has “no immediate plans” for vegetarian fried chicken in its U.S. restaurants, Newsweek said plant-based versions of non-KFC fried chicken are already sold in the U.K.

If all this “real” versus fake is confusing, prepare to fasten your food seatbelts, as faux chicken is not the only fake food heading to market. It’s only been a little while since I wrote about safety questions looming over a meat substitute known as Quorn, a fungus-based ferment that hit the U.S. market in 2002. But Quorn was only the introduction: Along with fake KFC chicken, other fake meats are headed your way in many different forms, including poultry, fish, pork and beef, such as the Impossible Burger, which is made from soy, wheat, coconut oil, potatoes and plant-based “heme,” which is derived from genetically engineered yeast.

So what’s wrong with this picture? Why should you care whether you’re eating real chicken or beef as long as the manufacturer claims it’s healthy and tastes the same? Therein lies the problem: A concoction of various chemicals are needed to “fool” you into thinking what you’re tasting is the food these imposters are imitating. And, although the manufacturers would prefer you not know it, there ARE concerns you need to about that could adversely affect your health when you consume these conjured-up foods.

For example, since its inception, a number of studies have raised concerns about Quorn's safety, especially in people with food- and/or mold allergies. An early study by the manufacturer found 10 percent of 200 human subjects developed nausea or stomachache after eating Quorn. And this was just with Quorn.

Anytime you add fake flavors and other substances to a processed food, you are simultaneously also inserting the possibility of a severe allergic reaction or other illness that might not show up for a long period of time. For example, are these foods ultimately carcinogenic? The truth is we don’t know. Nobody knows because many food additives not only are not nutritious, but they’re not even adequately regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Plus, they’ve not been on the market or studied long enough to know exactly what all adverse reactions might occur from eating them.

If you want to eat clean, whole, healthy foods, I encourage you to avoid processed foods, fast foods and anything that comes in a package. And look for the American Grassfed Association (AGA) logo on meats, as it ensures the animals were born and raised on American family farms, fed only grass and forage from weaning until harvest, and raised on pasture without confinement to feedlots.
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