By now, most people will have heard that Quorn is a healthier alternative to eating real meat. It is high in protein but lower in fat and it is guilt-free in terms of animal composition. It may even help with weight loss – but how? We took a closer look to try and find out if Quorn is good for weight loss… and just what it is that makes this such a healthy food source.
Getting to Know Quorn
Quorn has seen a growth in popularity recently as a suitable alternative to meat protein. The makers promote it as a healthy alternative food source that is vegetarian-friendly with some Quorn products also being suitable for vegans. Quorn is made from a type of fermented fungus, so no animals are harmed in the making.
Quorn has been turned into ‘sausages’, into ‘chicken’ pieces, fake bacon rashers – and all sorts of other things. It is the favourite of vegetarians everywhere and even of those who want to eat less meat.
Since cattle farming accounts for a whopping 14.5%i of global greenhouse gas emissions, and since Quorn bypasses this, we can already tell you that it is a much cleaner way to get your protein in terms of the Earth.
Quorn Nutritional Values
Basic Quorn contains:
- 92% Mycoprotein – a fermented fungus
- Firming Agents – to make it textured into the different types, like mince, imitation steaks, or picnic sausages
Some additional Quorn ingredients (check the packaging) include:
- Natural Caramelised Sugar – which colours it and gives a little extra flavour
- Free-range Egg White – for extra protein without the meat
Nutritionally, 100g of Mycoprotein (the fungus Quorn is made from) gives you:
- 11g of protein
- 6g of fibre
- Only 0.7g of saturated fat
- 9g carbohydrates
When added to your regular balanced diet and complemented with fruit or vegetables, Quorn is as good for you as any other protein source (as long as you are not allergic to it). Arguably it is even better; since it contains none of the heavy fats found in meat and no antibiotics and hormones.
Can Quorn Help You Lose Weight?
So can this miraculous food source make you lose weight? The short answer is “yes”, it could, although there is much more to weight loss than just adding Quorn to your diet. It can certainly help though. Replacing a couple of meaty meals a week with Quorn can help you cut out the fatty acids you would normally be eating. This ought to leave you with less fat in your blood and therefore in a better position to lose weight.
If you are a vegetarian
If you are already meat-free then replacing high carbohydrate foods (such as pasta or potatoes) with Quorn once or twice a week may also help you lose weight. Just make sure you fill up your plate with plenty of non-starchy veg and add some pulses and beans for that extra protein. When your meal is packed with protein, you will feel fuller for longer and your body will use more energy to digest all the protein than if you were to eat mostly carbs. This helps with the weight loss process.
If you are a vegan
If you are a vegan then make sure your Quorn products do not contain egg (obviously!). The brand does clearly mark their vegan produce to make it easier for you.
Mycoprotein contains more fibre per 100g than even baked beans do, helping to keep you regular. Quorn is much better for you than a number of processed vegan snack foods (such as potted noodlesii). So when you replace some of the more processed vegan foods with Quorn, you will certainly be doing something good for your body (as long as you don’t get tummy upsets that some people experience when eating Quorn).
Just keep in mind that that key to losing weight when you are vegan is not only replacing heavily processed vegan foods with healthier alternatives. You also need to work on other small changes in your life that will help, for example improving your drinking habits and trying to be more active.
If you are a pescetarian
For the pescatarian; mycoprotein doesn’t contain quite the same B vitamins as can be found in oily fish – but it does contain much less fat. Even although this amount is comparatively less than beef or pork, oily fish contains as much as 5% fat. When measured against the 0.7g found in basic Quorn with no additives, this still amounts to less fat in your diet (and fewer calories consumed). But as you probably already know, the fat found in oily fish is a healthy type of fat that we all need so while you could try and eat fish less often (if you eat it more than twice a week), don’t cut it out of your diet completely as it’s good for you.
How much weight can you lose with Quorn?
So how much weight can you lose with Quorn? Let’s look at some numbers.
Remember that 0.7g of saturated fat in 100g of Quorn? In beef that becomes 6g. Pork performs slightly better at 5g, with chicken performing best except Quorn at 3.8g.
Saturated fats have a bad reputation since they increase levels of cholesterol in your body and consequently the risk of heart disease. We all still need some saturated fat in our diet but not in excess.
Now, if we count all type of fats found in meats, chicken and pork have 14g per 100g, where beef has 15g. Quorn has 0.7g total… so the maths does add upiii.
Some tips for using Quorn to lose weight include avoiding adding things to it. The more fats you use to cook with and the more you add to your Quorn, the more likely you are to add additional calories. Stick to fresh vegetables, whole grains, and minimal oils if you want to cook with Quorn for weight loss.
Let’s take a more detailed look at how you can keep Quorn exciting when you are using it to lose weight!
How to Cook with Quorn for Weight Loss?
There are a number of things to remember if you want to cook with Quorn and make the most of losing weight from doing so. Some of the most important considerations are as follows:
- Portion control – we have stuck to 100g as a guide but 100g of Quorn is a rather big portion. Half of this would be enough… Think of 100g as a full small cup and 50g as half of that amount. Try having a smaller portion and eating yoghurt if you are still hungry afterwards.
- Avoid butter, oil, or other fats – use a one calorie spray, instead. Each dash of olive oil is at least an extra 20 calories.
- Use fresh or frozen vegetables in 25g portions to compliment your Quorn. Season with salt instead of butter.
- Herbs and spices – as well as flavouring our food, herbs and spices play an important role in providing vitamins and minerals. Make sure you have a full spice cupboard for the best Quorn experience.
Now that we have covered the basics: let’s look at what types of recipes you can make with Quorn – and whether or not they are compatible with the Slimming World diet.
Slimming World and Quorn
Is Quorn ‘free’ on Slimming World?
Unfortunately, Quorn isn’t ‘free’ on a slimming world diet and does cost you syns. Each Quorn chicken nugget is 0.5 syns, for example. There are some that claim a Quorn syn free-range, but these are not the most reputable sourcesv.
Syns in Quorn
We took a look at the syn value of some other Quorn products for a Slimming World diet. Some of our favourite Quorn products and their syn values – or whether or not they are syn-free – are listed below:
Quorn Burgers – one Quorn burger has approximately 2.5 syns.
Quorn Cocktail Sausages – a single syn each… Don’t eat too many.
Quorn Mince – Quorn mince is one of the few products that is ‘free’! Don’t go nuts though, keep the portions small.
Quorn Chicken Fillets – Chicken fillets are also ‘free’ provided nothing is added.
Quorn Cottage Pie – roughly 1 syn per 100g.vi
So is Quorn Good for Weight Loss?
Yes! If you follow our guidelines and watch your portion sizes and what you add to it, Quorn is a great meat substitute to help you lose weight. Just make sure you also look at your lifestyle as things like getting enough sleep and drinking lots of water also help with weight loss.