Guest Article – Opinion Piece
As a food blogger and influencer, I would say my life is pretty darn tasty. I get to attend food shows (when we could), try delicious new treats, and stay on top of up and coming brands and trends. I have judged food competitions and I love every minute of it. Back in 2017, I saw collagen-infused foods become a thing.
I was confused. That stuff that people inject into their lips is now being eaten? I had so many questions. Why? What? All the “W” words.
Come to find out, collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. As a vegetarian of 35 years, this caught my attention. I have been anemic twice since going veggie and balancing my nutrition and values is a key focus of mine.
But is collagen right for me?
I feel like Carrie Bradshaw even asking myself that question. But it’s an important question! And the answer is yes. Collagen is a major component to connective tissues, like tendons and skin. It provides skin with structure (back to those full lips) and strengthens bones. It helps relieve joint pain and could promote heart health. These are all good things.
However, there is a dark side to collagen. Most of it comes from really gross things. Like, horror movie gross. It is made from the inedible parts of slaughtered animals — hooves, feathers, skin, and teeth. And just when you think the nightmare is over, it gets even more Wes Craven-y. Most collagen products are hydrolyzed. In short, harsh chemicals are used to make it more easily absorbed. Ew, David!
Clearly this process is not vegetarian or vegan! Outside of eggs and a few other foods, not many products tell you how their food is sourced. Collagen-infused items are really no different. The hard truth is we need better labeling on everything we consume and collagen is just another reason why.
But there are plant-based options! Collagen is rich in amino acids, about 18 of them. You can take an amino-acid rich collagen booster that helps your body naturally produce more collagen. These earth-friendly, and Jerry-friedly, products use fermentation to create the amino acids and the process is a lot less harsh than the conventional way.
Sadly, it is pretty difficult to get the full story on these products. Labels, well, suck. That said, there are few things that can help you decode a label. The first thing to know is there is no such thing as plant-based collagen. It’s a protein found in humans and animals. Peptides are also animal based. If it says hydrolyzed, they could have used hydrochloric acid to break down the collagen into peptides. The plant-based ones are typically called a collagen builder. If it says plant collagen, there is simply no such thing.
Best thing is, you don’t have to do all the work. That is what AminoFacts is for! They not only have the skinny on how to decipher these products, but they can work with brands you like to get you the information you need.
How great is that?!