It’s no secret that plant-based diets are in the forefront of nutrition conversation as of late. Whether for ethical, environmental, or health purposes, vegan and vegetarian diets are becoming more and more popular. With growing demand, comes supply. Fast food chains like Burger King, Chipotle, and Subway have hopped on the bandwagon to provide the public with more inclusive menu options. You may have heard about McDonald’s recent announcement unveiling plans for an entire McPlant line in 2021!
Beyond Meat and The Impossible Burger have changed the game as well as public opinion of vegan proteins. These products aren’t your mamma’s tofu, that’s for sure! These meat substitutes provide an impressive protein profile without sacrificing taste. For vegans especially, this is big news because it’s a form of plant-based protein that can be found anywhere from the grocery store to the occasional, indulgent fast-food visit.
But, how “healthy” are these products really? Plant-based protein content does not always mean a food is offering the most bang-for-your-bite, nutritionally-speaking of course.
The traditional Beyond Burger contains 20g of protein with a whopping 13g of fat and 5g of saturated fat, packed into 260 calories. I know what you’re thinking: “So what, though? It’s coming from plants so it can’t be that bad.” In comparison, an 85% lean beef hamburger contains 19g of fat (7g of saturated fat), 21g of protein, and 265 calories.
I’m definitely not saying you’re better off eating a beef burger, but it is important to recognize that, quantitatively, Beyond Beef is not a healthier alternative.
Good news, though! In response to this, Beyond has unveiled two new products to hit the shelves in early 2021. Their food scientists have designed lower fat options to better suit their customer’s dietary needs. The “Beyond 35” and “Beyond 25” contains 35 and 25% less fat than 80/20 lean beef, respectively. This will be beneficial for people with cardiovascular issues, type II diabetes risks, or hypertension. Since the new burgers haven’t been released yet, I can’t comment on taste but the company has also hinted at an updated flavor profile. Beyond has stated that this will be the “meatiest burger experience yet.” Bloggers suspect that they are moving away from their classic, char-broiled-esc taste for a more versatile cooking application.
Multiple studies have indicated that the high consumption of meat and processed meat products is correlated with all-cause mortality. In simpler terms, people that eat more meat could have a higher risk of dying due to diet or lifestyle related factors. The good news is, pea proteins found in Beyond and Impossible “meat” have promising health impacts. It has been found to act as an antioxidant, anti-hypertensive, and help the gut microbiome thrive. It also contains soluble properties similar to fibrous foods, which can lower cholesterol and prevent certain cancers.
The new Beyond line may up the ante on swapping animal meat for plant based products for omnivores and definitely sweetening the deal for vegans and vegetarians. By adjusting the fat content, they are undoubtedly providing a healthier product for all consumers.
So I want to know, are you pro-faux meats? Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite brands are and if you’re looking forward to the future innovations!