The hottest products in the food industry are vegan based burgers that provide the taste and texture of a beef patty. If you haven’t tried one yet, or even if you have, here’s how the burgers compare to ground beef:
|Calories, 4 oz||Protein, g||Fat, g||Saturated Fat, g||Cholesterol, g||Sodium, g||Fiber, g|
|85% Lean Beef||240||20.8||16.8||6.4||76||72||0|
The vegan burgers win out when comparing cholesterol and fiber, but watch the salt. In general, the vegan options sound good, but let’s look deeper. Both vegan burgers are highly processed and contain many ingredients whereas beef burgers have one ingredient.
Here’s the list of Beyond Meat Burger ingredients:
Water, pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, contains 2% or less of the following: cellulose from bamboo, methylcellulose, potato starch, natural flavor, maltodextrin, yeast extract, salt, sunflower oil, vegetable glycerin, dried yeast, gum arabic, citrus extract (to protect quality), ascorbic acid, succinic acid, modified food starch, annatto (for color).
Here’s the list of Impossible Burger ingredients:
Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, 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), Vitamin B12.
Remember the recommendation to choose foods that only include ingredients that you recognize as food and can pronounce? Let’s just look at a few of the vegan ingredients:
- Refined coconut oil – refined oils possess no coconut flavor or aroma. The oil typically undergoes various levels of processing, including being deodorized and bleached. The fat contributes to the texture that you’d expect in a burger.
- Cellulose from bamboo and/or methylcellulose – both are non-digestible, non-toxic compounds that have gone through extensive chemical processing. This is the source of the 3 grams of fiber.
Impossible Burgers contain GMO soy—I’m not going to discuss this issue, but some people will want to know that.
Rather than choosing vegan foods that are highly processed, focus on those that provide nutrition that your body knows how to metabolize. Find recipes that include beans or quinoa with vegetables and herbs and spices. Choose healthy fats from avocado, nuts, and olives. Your body will thank you for feeding it real food!