Aug 16, 2019

Beyond Burger vs. Impossible Burger

Traditional meat products usually have one ingredient, meat. These new meat free products are more complicated. They are touted as good for the environment, but neglect to publish whether they are good for us to eat.

The Impossible Burger has 21 ingredients, and the Beyond Burger has 22. These burgers are highly processed foods, which generally get a thumbs-down from nutritionists and dietitians alike. Just because a product is plant-based, does not mean it is automatically healthy. French fries are plant-based. However, like so many other things, marketing trumps science and good sense.
“My main concern is the questionably high sodium content of these veggie-based alternatives, which can rank up to five times the amount of a regular burger patty. Beyond and Impossible burgers are very different," said Cynthia Sass, a New York-based performance nutritionist.
Impossible's main protein source is soy, one of the big eight most common allergens. Soy is high in phytic acid, also known as phytates. These phytates prevent the absorption of minerals like iron and calcium (among others). This can be particularly harmful, especially for children. Additionally, soy is high in phytoestrogen. This can block normal estrogen, which leads not just to hormonal imbalance, but possibly breast cancer. Impossible Burgers also include coconut oil, which supplies a significant amount of saturated fat,” according to another nutritionist. Because coconut oil contains more saturated fat than butter or lard, many nutritionists recommend using it sparingly.

Impossible Burger 2.0 ingredients include: Water, Soy-protein concentrate, Coconut oil, Sunflower oil, Natural flavors (sic), Potato protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast extract, Cultured dextrose, Modified Food Starch, Soy leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy-protein isolate, Mixed tocopherols (vitamin E), Zinc gluconate, Thiamine hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium ascorbate (vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), Riboflavin (vitamin B2), and Vitamin B12.

The Beyond Burger uses pea protein isolate, which most people find easily digestible, but can cause increased gastrointestinal discomfort if people are not used to it, said Vandana Sheth, a registered dietitian nutritionist.  "This is a source of saturated fat, and you will see that one burger contains 30% of the recommended daily value." Beyond Burger is using that ingredient for a marbling effect. The American Heart Association advises that we be wary before choosing coconut oil due to its high saturated fat content.
Beyond Burger ingredients include: Water, Pea protein isolate, Canola oil, Refined coconut oil, Cellulose from bamboo, Methylcellulose, Potato starch, Natural flavor (sic), Maltodextrin, Yeast extract, Salt, Sunflower oil, Vegetable glycerin, Dried yeast, Gum arabic, Citrus extract, Ascorbic acid, Beet juice extract, Acetic acid, Succinic acid, Modified food starch, and Annatto.
Beyond Meat's 4-ounce patty is listed at 270 calories, while Impossible Foods' is listed at 240 calories. There are 246 calories in 4 ounces of Ground Beef (90% Lean / 10% Fat). Four ounces of extra-lean ground beef (95 percent lean, 5 percent fat) contains 155 calories.

A real burger made with lean beef has about the same calories, fat, and saturated fat as a Beyond Burger, but more protein, less sodium, and less calories. Caveat Emptor!

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