There are so many reasons people are taking the leap away from animal products and leading a more plant-based diet. Most people are doing it for health reasons. Or, they are making the switch to move towards a more environmentally friendly, cruelty-free lifestyle.
As many of us move away from a high-animal product diet and towards a plant-based diet, we are constantly on the lookout for ways to replace the animal-products we once enjoyed, with healthier, better alternatives.
Unfortunately, many of the market alternatives are bad for your health, even as they are being marketed as a better option.
One of the biggest, and most popular among these is the Beyond Burger, produced by Beyond Meat. Their goal is to create a healthier, vegan burger patty that tastes and feels like real hamburger meat. Since the product was released, people trying to make the switch have praised the company for their efforts to introduce a mainstream, better meat alternative.
But have they succeeded? And just how healthy is the Beyond Burger?
WHAT IS THE BEYOND BURGER?
The Beyond Burger was created by Beyond Meat as a vegan burger alternative and was made to look and taste like a beef hamburger patty. In fact, it was made to even act like a burger during the cooking process, using beet juice to “bleed” as a beef patty would.
Since its creation, it has become a popular burger alternative sold in restaurants and fast-food chains like Carl’s Junior and Del Taco. You can even find it in popular grocery stores like Whole Foods and Target.
This “meat-like” burger provides a protein-rich patty, with a complete protein profile. For someone making the switch to a protein-based diet, this burger patty is a dream come true.
But, does that mean it is healthy?
Let’s break it down…
Nutrient Profile Per Patty
- Calories – 250
- Fat (g) – 18
- Saturated Fat (g) – 6
- Cholesterol (mg) – 0
- Sodium (mg) – 390
- Carbs (g) – 3
- Fiber (g) – 2
- Protein (g) – 20
Water, Pea Protein*, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Pomegranate Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Beet Juice Extract (for color).
FIRST, SOME GOOD NEWS
One of the main concerts about moving towards a new plant-based diet is protein. Not only do you want to make sure you are getting enough protein, but you need to be sure you are getting complete protein.
This means that you are getting all of the essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own.
Does the Beyond Burger do this?
Yes! The Beyond Burger was created to provide you with a complete source of protein and is able to achieve this due to the variety of protein sources included in the burger. This includes:
- They provide a lot of protein
- Complete protein
- They are good for the planet
- No soy, GMOs, or gluten
VEGAN MEANS HEALTHY… RIGHT?
There is a big misconception that just because something is vegan, it is healthy. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There are plenty of vegan foods out there that are so unhealthy you may as well be eating junk food for every meal.
Most of the foods that are marketed as being vegan alternatives are the farthest from a healthy substitute. This is because these items are typically highly processed and contain a load of ingredients that you would be better off not eating.
But what about the Beyond Burger?
Is it a healthy alternative to a beef patty, or does it land on the side of being so over processed that it’s hardly recognizable as food?
The truth is, it is a bit more complicated.
Is it the worst alternative you could choose? No.
Are there better ways to achieve your daily protein goals? Definitely.
Before we dive into the Beyond Burger, we should first discuss faux meats in general, because they are worth discussing.
Faux meats are popular amongst people who are starting out on a plant-based or strict vegan diet because they simply offer a simple alternative to animal-products. Just because your food is “meatless” doesn’t automatically make it healthy, or even better than eating an animal product.
For most manufacturers, the goal behind faux-meat is to create a product that looks and tastes like the product is trying to imitate, and, let’s face it… veggies just don’t taste like meat.
To accomplish this, the product typically needs some sort of additives or processing. This can be a big negative to your health.
Here are the biggest concerns you should consider before relying on faux-meat…
High Sodium Levels
One of the biggest issues with faux meat is the high levels of sodium. Many of the faux-meat products may contain up to 5X the amount of sodium found is a traditional beef patty.
Higher levels of sodium have been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, so if you are making the switch to focus on your health, be sure to check the sodium levels of your product.
High in Saturated Fat
Faux meat, especially the products trying to imitate beef patties, are often high in saturated fat, which can negatively affect your health.
Saturated fat is an unhealthy fat, and it is often easy to spot. Typically, but not always, this type of fat will become solid when left alone at room temperature. This can include fast like butter, palm oils, and coconut oil.
Diets high in saturated fat are linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, weight gain, and premature death.
Of course, these aren’t the only fats you should be concerned with. Be sure to avoid any fats and oils that are highly processed, such as canola oil.
The healthiest diet is one that is made up of whole foods, and the problem with most faux-meat products is that they are highly, ultra-processed. Typically, the closer to whole foods something is, the better. The more processed it is, the more harmful to your health it could be. This is a good rule to live by.
A HEALTHIER, HOMEMADE OPTION
The healthiest vegan burger alternative is one that you can make yourself using only whole ingredients. Here is a great, healthy alternative to a faux-meat patty:
- 1 can pinto or black beans (other varieties also work)
- 3 tbsp organic tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 1/2 cup cooked diced veggies of choice (carrots or bell peppers are a great choice!)
Using your hands, mash your beans and stir in all your other ingredients. Use your hands to form patties.
You can then either grill your patties or use a frying pan to cook them, flipping them halfway through until you’ve reached your desired temperature and/or texture. You can also bake them in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Because they are made from veggies and beans, you don’t have to worry about these burgers being undercooked!
SO, WHAT’S THE VERDICT? IS THE BEYOND BURGER HEALTHY?
The beyond burger is a faux-meat product that is widely available, and while it is no word alternative on the market, there are definitely better alternatives, such as making your own veggie patty.
The reasons there are better alternatives out there are due to the high amounts of sodium and the use of a pea protein isolate, which is a controversial protein alternative that is processed.
We also hate that it is made with canola oil, a highly-processed, unhealthy monosaturated fat genetically modified. It is also a refined oil, meaning it has been exposed to a high number of chemicals.
Canola oil has also been shown to increase inflammation, impact your heart health, and decrease memory.
At the end of the day, it really depends on what your goals are.
If you are looking for a convincing replacement for a meat patty, this isn’t the worst option; however, if you are trying to stay healthy and get your daily protein requirements through a vegan protein supplement or a home-made patty.
WORRIED ABOUT PROTEIN? TRY THIS VEGAN SUPPLEMENT!
For a lot of people making the switch to a plant-based diet, turning to faux-meat is an easy way to continue to get the daily recommended protein requirements. With Detox Organics Daily Protein, you can easily get a healthy dose of protein made from whole foods, without any of the negative ingredients.
Detox Organics does not use any artificial ingredients, and we are proud to say our product is soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and completely non-GMO. If you want a good protein source, try Detox Organics Daily Protein as a healthy way to reach your daily protein requirements.