If you pay attention to health and nutrition, there’s no doubt you’ve come across the food industry’s latest answer to a burger replacement. It’s the Impossible burger. It’s also known as the “beyond” burger. But should cows rejoice at the substitute for their meat? Not quite yet. This fast food experiment shows that we need a replacement though.
You see, while they do “bleed” like beef burgers or turkey burgers might, there’s a reason vegans and vegetarians should be suspicious of these plant-based burgers… they’re not all they’re cracked up to be.
Of course, the plant-based burger is an attempt to help protect animal welfare. But, is the Impossible burger healthy? Read here to learn more information about Impossible foods, their ingredients, and whether or not they are good for you.
Impossible Burger: The Ingredients
If you’re a fan of plant-based eating, you’re likely already accustomed to reading labels and trying to suss out whether an animal alternative is “too processed” or not. What separates this genetically modified veggie burger from those that have come before? Not much.
When you shop for vegan and vegetarian options, you often start by reading the list of ingredients in a product. Let’s do the same with the Impossible burger…
- Soy Protein Concentrate
- Sunflower Oil
- Natural Flavors
- Potato Protein
- Yeast Extract
- Cultured Dextrose
- Food Starch Modified
- Soy Leghemoglobin
- Coconut Oil
- Soy Protein Isolate
- Mixed Tocopherols
- Zinc Gluconate
- Thiamine Hydrochloride
- Sodium Ascorbate
- Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
Beyond Burger: The Ingredients
- Pea Protein Isolate
- Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil
- Rice Protein
- Cocoa Butter
- Coconut Oil
- Mung Bean Protein
- Potato Starch
- Potassium Chloride
- Lemon Juice Concentrate
- Sunflower Lecithin
- Pomegranate Fruit Powder (Read about pomegranate extract benefits.)
- Beet Juice Extract2
By examining the ingredients listed above, you can see there are several not-so-good-for-you lectin bombs just waiting to wreak havoc on your body. Soy protein concentrate? Potato protein? Soy leghemoglobin? What do these plant-based proteins have in common? Lectins… no, thank you.
Protein Changes In A Plant-Based Diet: Can Different Protein Sources Have Negative Effects?
Let’s examine soy protein concentrate, potato protein, and soy protein isolate. Can these different protein sources affect you negatively? You bet they can. These are not the same kinds of protein you get from good high protein vegetables.
Soy Protein Concentrate — Food marketing companies celebrated soy-based foods as alternative sources of protein and for their healthy fat content for years. However, soy plant proteins may have negative effects like hormonal disturbances. Furthermore, the lectins in soy might cause reactions in your organs.3
Potato Protein — In recent years, potato consumption has decreased significantly. Evidence shows potato consumption is partially responsible for an increase in the risk of obesity.4 Furthermore, lectins are found in many plant-based foods including corn, peas, soybeans, and dangerous nightshades like potatoes.5
Soy Protein Isolate — Again, soy is an incredibly processed food. And some studies indicate soy protein isolate might increase the volume of breast fluid in women who ingest it. This may mean an increase in the risk of certain serious health concerns.6
The Hidden Deadly Disruptor In The Impossible Burger And Beyond Burger
Now, both of these burgers, Impossible & Beyond, have been tested and found to contain glyphosate — which is a deadly disruptor to our healthspan.7 Plus, the main ingredient of both burgers is lectin-rich (pea or soy). The bottom line is that these are BOTH ULTRA-processed foods. And if we’ve learned anything — ultra-processed foods have no place in a health-promoting diet.
Turns out, glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide worldwide. The IARC, an institute that researches the fatal effects of such herbicides, recently concluded that glyphosate is potentially dangerous. And they suspect glyphosate could cause extremely serious health concerns.8
Fast Food Restaurant Fans Want To Know: Is The Impossible Burger Healthy?
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan always on the go, you may have hoped the Impossible burger was at least a low-calorie fast food option. But the truth is, though the animal protein substitute may taste alright, it has almost as many calories as the meat version. Can you believe that?
According to The Today Show, the regular fast food whopper burger has about 660 calories. How does that compare to the “healthier” plant-based burger? Well, the Impossible Whopper contains about 630 calories. That’s not much of a difference.
Also, the Impossible Whopper contains 34 grams of fat compared to the original burger’s fat content of 40 grams. That’s not a huge difference in fat calories either.
Finally, the Impossible Whopper actually has significantly more carbohydrates than the original Whopper burger. There are 58 grams of carbs in the fast-food veggie burger. That’s 9 more grams of carbs than the fast-food beef version which has 49 grams of carbs. It has a higher sodium content than the traditional burger too.9
What Are Some Good Alternatives To Animal Products?
If you’re looking for a great veggie burger, but you don’t care to eat either of the burgers mentioned above, you do have other options.
For instance, mushrooms make a great meat substitute. Try an entire Portabello cap as your burger substitute. Or you can create a pretty convincing patty using Cremini mushrooms. And, if you’re a meat-eater, homemade burgers with lean, grass-fed and finished beef are the way to go. That way, you can be sure nothing’s going into your patty that you don’t want. And make sure to eat smaller portions to help keep your cholesterol levels in check.
A Word About Iron
While a plant-based diet is good for many reasons, some people do get concerned about getting the right amount of iron from their diets. You see, dietary iron is found in two basic forms.
- Heme iron can be found in meat, poultry, and fish.
- Non-heme iron is the type of iron found mainly in plants and plant-based foods.
The truth is, non-heme iron is not absorbed by the human body as well as heme iron. In fact, more than 95% of usable iron in the human body is heme iron.10And make sure your diet is high in vitamin C, as it helps your body process non-heme iron more efficiently.11
Beyond Today’s Beyond Burger
Perhaps in the future, these companies will improve their recipes. They do seem to be searching for the perfect veggie burger. In fact, the original Impossible recipe contained wheat protein. That ingredient has now gone by the wayside, so maybe they’ll continue to improve their recipes.
But for now, it’s best to avoid these particular veggie burgers. Stick to homemade veggie burgers made with Gundry approved ingredients like mushrooms, walnuts, and even properly-prepped and pressure-cooker lentils.
You want your body to be at its best. Getting the right vitamins and minerals from your food is important. You can still focus on plant-based foods while staying lectin-free. Speaking of burgers, what about the cheese? Well, that may not be all it is cracked up to be either if you read this a1 vs a2 milk article.
4th of July Walnut Lentil Veggie Burgers!
What’s a Pegan Diet and Can It Be Lectin-free?
Differences Between Casein A1 and A2 Milk (Your Digestive Health Depends On It)