Secrets of the Superhuman Food Pyramid: Negative Effects of Textured Vegetable Proteins

Some people refrain from consuming meat perhaps because of personal beliefs, preferences or diet limitations arising from a medical condition. Whatever the reasons, they will have to find a substitute source of this nutrient in order to receive the necessary daily amount and stay healthy. Textured vegetable protein (TVP) has been used as one possible option.

This type of food is also known as textured soy protein (TSP). It is a by-product of soybean processing where the oil content of its grains is extracted. TVP or TSP was invented in the 60’s by food manufacturer Archer Daniels Midland. But it was not commercially successful at first. It was a few years later that Mr. Midland’s company was able to market the food manufacturing benefits of TVP, from meat product extender to cheap protein material.

Make no mistake, TVP is processed food and is often used in combination with additives that make it potentially dangerous to your health. The fact that it’s made from soybeans also makes this food’s safety questionable. Continue reading to learn more about the negative effects of textured vegetable proteins, and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends you avoid them as a source of protein.

Risks of Textured Vegetable Proteins:

Imitation meat products use textured vegetable proteins as the main material. To enhance appearance, taste or other desired qualities, these products may also contain food dyes, emulsifiers, preservatives or artificial flavoring. All these additives have been found problematic.

The use of some types of food dyes have actually been banned in Europe because of their link with hyperactivity in children and effects on the nervous system. Red 40 is one of several artificial food coloring chemicals that have been identified as health risks and its widespread use includes certain meat products.

Phosphate salts, often used as emulsifiers in food processing, can be harmful to the kidneys. Emulsifiers are necessary in processed food because they stabilize oil and water mixtures. Sodium phosphate and potassium phosphate are examples of this type of food additive. The latter is known to trigger allergic reactions.

Nitrites are a common type of preservative for meat and imitation meat products.  When sodium nitrite in food is digested by gastric juices, it can combine with amines to form nitrosamines. Certain studies have already found this type of substance to induce the formation of malignant tumors.

Monosodium glutamate or MSG is a frequent flavoring for meats because they lend a savory taste that’s naturally desirable in such products. The sodium and glutamic components of MSG are, of themselves and in their proper amounts, not harmful. Sodium is an electrolyte that helps maintain water balance and glutamates are neurotransmitters derived from amino acids. With constant excessive intake however, sodium starts becoming detrimental to cardiovascular health. Meanwhile it doesn’t take too much of the refined glutamates in MSG for them to become excitotoxins – substances that overly stimulate nerve cells to the point of causing damage.

Part of the process of making textured vegetable proteins, is the use of a chemical solvent called hexane. This is one of the inputs used to separate the fat content of soybeans from its proteins. Hexane is also a major component of gasoline. So far studies have shown that only trace amounts of this substance are found in TVP products. One would need to consume an impossibly huge amount for acute symptoms to appear. Unfortunately there appears to be no research for long-term effects. Do these trace amounts of hexane eventually build up in the body?

In the next post, I’ll tell you the negative effects of soy protein powder and why you should avoid it to succeed in your quest to Become Superhuman.

In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the protein sources on Superhuman Food Pyramid:


Free Range Eggs (With Yolk)

Grass-Fed Beef, Bison or Buffalo or Lamb

Pasture-Raised, Organic Pork

Sardines, Anchovies or Haddock in Water or Olive Oil

Wild Salmon, Trout, Tilapia or Flounder

Organic Whey/Casein Protein Powder

Organic Rice/Pea Protein Powder

Organic Hemp Protein Powder

• Organic Yogurt (Full-Fat)


Yogurt Cheese

Raw Cheese from Grass Fed Cows

Organic Cottage Cheese

Naturally preserved or dried meats

Miso, tempeh, tamari or natto

Egg protein powder

• Soaked or sprouted beans and legumes

• Raw seeds and nuts

Raw nut butter


Non-Organic Dairy Products

Processed Cheeses

Non-Organic, Commercially Processed Meat

Chemically Preserved or Dried Meats

Protein Powders with Artificial Sweeteners

Textured Vegetable Proteins

Soy Protein Powder


• Roasted Seeds and Nuts

Roasted Nut Butter

• Regular or Canned Beans and Legumes

If you have questions, comments or feedback about the negative effects of textured vegetable protein, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the negative effects of textured vegetable protein.