Is it too good to be true: are Beyond Meat meatless burgers a healthier option than traditional red meat burgers, while offering the same great taste? You may have seen these burgers popping up everywhere; from your local grocery store to your closest Tim Horton’s. Beyond Meat burgers have quickly become the new nutritional trend. But the question arises, how nutritious are these burgers and are they really a healthier option? Let’s take a closer look.
To understand the nutritional content of these burgers, it’s important to look at the numbers. Attached below is a comparison of the nutritional label between a Beyond Meat Burger and an equivalent red meat burger both approximately 113g in size:
We can see from the above images how similar the nutritional values are between the two burgers. For example, take a look at the following numbers:
|Beyond Meat Burger||Regular Burger|
The Beyond Meat burger appears far from being a ‘healthier option’. Despite being plant-based, the fat content in both burgers are near identical. Interestingly, the Beyond Meat burger calorie count is higher than the regular beef patty burger.
Sodium on the other hand is a different story, with higher sodium levels found in the regular beef patty. High sodium levels can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, stomach cancer and fluid retention. Unfortunately even at 390mg, the Beyond Meat burger salt content is nearly 17% of the daily recommended intake, which is considerably high.
Beyond the nutritional value, we also need to take into account the processing that is needed to make a fake burger taste like a real burger. Here is a list of the 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 (to maintain color), Beet Juice Extract (for color), Acetic Acid, Succinic Acid, Modified Food Starch, Annatto (for color). (Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/beyond-meat-vs-impossible-burger-whats-the-difference/)
And here is a breakdown of the key ingredients:
Methylcellulose – Food thickener and emulsifier
Refined Coconut Oil – Bleached coconut oil, used to give the meat a high smoke point
Maltodextrin – Sugar
Potato Starch – Fiber, can cause digestive discomfort/flatulence
Gum Arabic – Fiber, can cause digestive discomfort/flatulence
Vegetable Glycerin – Sweetener, contains more calories than sugar
In comparison real beef patties only contain beef, with no additional additives.
Beyond Meat products can be a substitute to all-beef patties, but there is a catch. The products are highly processed; they contain many additives, and have about the same nutritional makeup as an all-beef patty. If the motive of going meatless is to eat ‘healthier’, than these products may not be the best choice for you. These products contain a lot of fat, are high in calories, and may not be the best choice for a healthy diet. However if you are a vegetarian or vegan and are looking for an alternative, this may be the closest you will find to an all-beef patty.