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Thoughts on Beyond Burger and other fake meat

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  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,285 Member Member Posts: 5,285 Member
    More on the Whopper vs Impossible Burger comparison, the sources I've seen show the sodium difference as 980 vs. 1080, with the Whopper with cheese over 1300.

    So the Impossible Whopper does have about 10% more sodium (or 100 mg).

    How much salt do you need for 100 mg of sodium? 0.25 g.

    I can see an argument that the Impossible Whopper is not nutritionally or health-wise much different (better or worse) than the Whopper for the vast majority of people. I'd agree. I think the difference would be ethical or taste preference (in that I don't like Whoppers I'd be curious to see if I like Impossible Whoppers more since occasionally I do end up doing a FF stop on a road trip). What I don't see is an argument that it's meaningfully worse.

    If 390 mg sodium is a deal-breaker vs. the 75 mg in the same size ground beef patty (and you don't use salt), than that's a concern for you, sure. I tend to add a little seasoning to a burger, including salt, and also -- gasp! -- like to put pickles on them, and pickles come with lots of sodium. (Mustard often does too.)

    For me, a 315 mg difference is nothing, given it's one food item, but then I have no sodium worries and eat mostly whole foods (and plenty of potassium) anyway.
    edited February 5
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 22,738 Member Member Posts: 22,738 Member
    aolwapoody wrote: »
    in my own experience (and i'm the fat chick who will eat anything) They get an A+ for making me think I'm eating meat, it's smoky and greasy and pretty hard to tell while you are eating it. They also get an F- for making a product that just made me feel heavy and 1/2 poisoned after I ate it. It's like my body said "Hey! That's not food!!!" I'll just eat the meat thank you.

    Feeling heavy after any type of fast food burger isn't an unusual experience for many people. I've had that feeling from foods containing meat before.
    edited February 5
  • jm_1234jm_1234 Member Posts: 179 Member Member Posts: 179 Member
    What about the Impossible Burger being bio-engineered and GMO? I feel like if you eat fast food you have to expect bio/gmo in everything so it's on par there, but for most? people it's a different story when buying at the grocery store and bringing home.

    GMO
    https://faq.impossiblefoods.com/hc/en-us/articles/360023038894-Does-it-contain-genetically-modified-ingredients-

    Bio-Engineered
    https://faq.impossiblefoods.com/hc/en-us/articles/360036138833-Why-does-the-package-have-a-bioengineered-symbol-
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,285 Member Member Posts: 5,285 Member
    Before going there, I want to clarify that as I understand it we are talking about the whole group of meat substitutes (based on OP's question), not merely the Impossible Burger.

    That's why I posted this test taste: https://www.foodandwine.com/news/plant-based-burger-taste-test

    Here's another one that understands the category much more broadly: https://www.thespruceeats.com/best-vegetarian-meats-and-substitutes-3377742
  • AmandaOmegaAmandaOmega Member Posts: 68 Member Member Posts: 68 Member
    ReenieHJ wrote: »
    plant-based is the healthy way to go. BUT avoid fake meat because it's all highly processed.
    Opinions? Just curious.

    I had the impossible whopper at Burger King. It tasted just like meat, had the same texture, but the sandwich had more calories than the regular meat patty version. Not many, like 30-40, but still. I feel like if I'm eating something plant based, it shouldn't have more calories than meat (otherwise, since I'm not vegan/vegetarian, what's the point?). Not to mention, to get a non-meat patty to taste like meat, I imagine it's highly processed, and I don't like the idea of that. I tried googling the exact ingredients, but they just vaguely list the kinds of things that are in the meat (and so I'm even more suspicious when a company won't give me a direct list).

    I prefer my husband's Veggie-Turkey burgers. He does 2/3 ground turkey, 1/3 finely chopped veggies (like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots). It tastes AMAZING. It's nice way to get some extra veggies in your diet.

  • kimny72kimny72 Member Posts: 15,094 Member Member Posts: 15,094 Member
    The ingredients of Beyond Burger (and I'd assume Impossible Burger) are listed on the packages sold at the grocery store, just like every other food product. If you go to the website of a store that sells them, most have the option to see the nutrition label or have an Ingredients tab. It's not a secret.

    And I suspect the point is that these burgers are mostly intended for vegetarians or folks concerned about the environmental impact of beef (rightly so or not) and as a novelty item for others.
    edited February 6
  • MikePTYMikePTY Member, Premium Posts: 3,823 Member Member, Premium Posts: 3,823 Member
    ReenieHJ wrote: »
    plant-based is the healthy way to go. BUT avoid fake meat because it's all highly processed.
    Opinions? Just curious.

    I had the impossible whopper at Burger King. It tasted just like meat, had the same texture, but the sandwich had more calories than the regular meat patty version. Not many, like 30-40, but still. I feel like if I'm eating something plant based, it shouldn't have more calories than meat (otherwise, since I'm not vegan/vegetarian, what's the point?). Not to mention, to get a non-meat patty to taste like meat, I imagine it's highly processed, and I don't like the idea of that. I tried googling the exact ingredients, but they just vaguely list the kinds of things that are in the meat (and so I'm even more suspicious when a company won't give me a direct list).

    I prefer my husband's Veggie-Turkey burgers. He does 2/3 ground turkey, 1/3 finely chopped veggies (like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots). It tastes AMAZING. It's nice way to get some extra veggies in your diet.

    The Impossible Whopper has less calories than the beef whopper, not more. It has 630 calories, compared to 660 of the original whopper. As you mentioned, not a huge difference, but it is still less, not more.
  • aokoyeaokoye Member Posts: 3,497 Member Member Posts: 3,497 Member
    YellowD0gs wrote: »
    YellowD0gs wrote: »
    As the plant-based meats run about 7x higher in Sodium content over ground beef...pretty much a will-not-touch-unless starving choice for me, and those on Sodium restricted diets should really give a long hard look.

    The majority of plant-based meats are designed to be eaten with little additional seasoning, so comparing them to ground beef in sodium content doesn't really make sense, as most people are adding seasoning to ground beef.

    It would be more accurate to compare these products to the average hamburger patty, which in many cases has sodium added to it, at least in restaurants.

    This post misses the point. People on a sodium restricted diet are limited to 1,500 mg/day Na (at least in the US). They're also likely on that diet because of a diagnosed medical issue (hypertension, heart disease, stroke, etc), so it's not really something they're doing by choice. Comparing raw material to raw material is exactly proper and accurate, as those on a sodium restricted diet are most likely NOT ADDING SALT during preparation. It defeats the point. Evaluating only the raw materials, one Beyond Burger 4 oz. patty has 390 mg sodium. That's 26% of the daily limit tied up in one single patty, and doesn't count the additional sodium contained in the ketchup, mustard, special sauce, bacon, cheese, and bun. All told, the Burger King reports the Impossible Burger at 1,240 mg sodium, or 83% of the daily limit. A direct comparison to 85/15 ground beef shows 81 mg sodium in a 4 ounce patty, or 5% daily limit. Burger King also reports 980 mg sodium (65%) for the regular Whopper, even with the assumed "salt added during preparation". The difference between the 2? 18% of the daily sodium limit, which is pretty obviously the result of choosing a high sodium content patty to start with. So, being on a low sodium diet, I'll generally avoid the Beyond Burger things unless absolutely necessary for one simple reason, sodium.

    You shouldn't be comparing the Impossible Whopper to plain ground beef. You should be comparing it to the regular Whopper. I'm guessing people on sodium restricted diets aren't eating a lot of those either, are they?

    It's my bad if this has already been pointed out (my excuse is that I'm getting over a nasty virus), but the Impossible Whopper was compared to the regular Whopper in the post you replied to was it not?
    All told, the Burger King reports the Impossible Burger at 1,240 mg sodium, or 83% of the daily limit. A direct comparison to 85/15 ground beef shows 81 mg sodium in a 4 ounce patty, or 5% daily limit. Burger King also reports 980 mg sodium (65%) for the regular Whopper, even with the assumed "salt added during preparation".

    Mind you, it appears that recently the Impossible Whopper's sodium content has dropped down to 1080 according to Burger King's US based website.

    edit: the impossible Whopper is the only Impossible product on Burger King sells so it's safe to assume that's what was being referred to.
    edited February 6
  • gothchiqgothchiq Member Posts: 4,529 Member Member Posts: 4,529 Member
    I don't want it. It's mega processed, it's jam packed with soy and about the estrogen level of a birth control pill if you discount that it is a plant estrogen rather than an animal one. Granted I cut carbs and sugars because F U diabetes, but that's where it stops. Cutting out meat is not a thing I will do. My doctor is on the plant based wagon and I said, look, doc, you're a grown woman and you can eat whatever you want, but I'm not doing that. You tell me I need certain macros, I'll do those macros. I'll avoid things that will objectively make me sick. Meat isn't on that list of things that hurt me. I'll buy lean ground beef at the grocery store.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,285 Member Member Posts: 5,285 Member
    aokoye wrote: »
    It's my bad if this has already been pointed out (my excuse is that I'm getting over a nasty virus), but the Impossible Whopper was compared to the regular Whopper in the post you replied to was it not?

    I did point out earlier that there was a small (100 mg) difference between the Whopper (no cheese) and the ImpossibleWhopper (which is a pretty tiny difference). I'm not sure why the numbers claimed by the PP for the ImpossibleWhopper were wrong, although I pointed out that they were.

    The original point that the same poster made was the supposedly significant difference between a plain beef burger and a patty from the BeyondBeef product (or some other similar product). Those do have a difference of about 315 mg (which is still less than an average pinch of salt). The poster insisted that of course one would never add salt if concerned about sodium (sure, I assume one would also not add pickles and be careful in the choice of mustard), but the point was initially raised -- at least as it seemed to me -- to suggest that there was something inherently unhealthful about the level of sodium in the fake meat product, and the initial reference by that same poster to the sodium in the ImpossibleWhopper was to support that point (vs. the plain meat) in a way that didn't seem like a fair argument.

    Most people who make a burger at home (not people who are super concerned about sodium and compliant to restrictions on it) likely aren't going to end up with a big difference (if any) between the burger and the BeyondBeef, and who knows which would have more sodium?

    Most people aren't going to see the difference in sodium between a Whopper and Impossible Whopper as significant.

    If someone is really, really concerned about avoiding sodium, they will have a burger, no salt or sodium containing condiments or pickles, etc., and might think the BeyondBeef's 390 mg sodium is too much for them, great, but that's hardly some kind of argument for the statement cited by the OP, as it was presented.

    (ImpossibleWhopper also has soy if one wants to avoid it, as do some other meat substitutes that some here consider to be within the realm of what is being discussed and some do not. The BeyondBeef product does not have soy. As I eat tofu and tempeh, I don't personally find soy a disqualifier, but worth noting that "meat substitutes" are not all the same.)
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,285 Member Member Posts: 5,285 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I do eat "highly processed" plant foods (peanut butter powder, tofu, others) when they fit well into my nutritional goals, and taste good to me.

    Which brings us back to the question -- does "highly processed" = "should be avoided if one cares about health."

    I would say no, and that foods like this (among many others) illustrate why that's a problematic standard.

    Is a specific "fake meat" product highly processed? I would expect so (depending on how we define fake meat -- I'll define it as "food intended to taste like meat"). Does it fit into a healthy diet? I can't answer that without knowing more about the specific product (although most foods do fit well into a healthy diet if the dosage makes sense).

    What I disagree with is the claim that anything that qualifies as "highly processed" must be avoided if one cares about one's health.

    (I also would agree with you, Ann, in disagreeing with any claim that 100% plant-based is the only healthy way to eat, although I would agree that eating more veg and fruit and more whole foods containing fiber than, say, the average American is a good idea, and that the average American also has a variety of other issues with their diet that a largely (and well-formulated) WFPB diet would improve upon. But so would a well-formulated Med diet, and a number of other sensible ways of eating.)
  • aokoyeaokoye Member Posts: 3,497 Member Member Posts: 3,497 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    aokoye wrote: »
    It's my bad if this has already been pointed out (my excuse is that I'm getting over a nasty virus), but the Impossible Whopper was compared to the regular Whopper in the post you repI lied to was it not?

    I did point out earlier that there was a small (100 mg) difference between the Whopper (no cheese) and the ImpossibleWhopper (which is a pretty tiny difference). I'm not sure why the numbers claimed by the PP for the ImpossibleWhopper were wrong, although I pointed out that they were.

    The original point that the same poster made was the supposedly significant difference between a plain beef burger and a patty from the BeyondBeef product (or some other similar product). Those do have a difference of about 315 mg (which is still less than an average pinch of salt). The poster insisted that of course one would never add salt if concerned about sodium (sure, I assume one would also not add pickles and be careful in the choice of mustard), but the point was initially raised -- at least as it seemed to me -- to suggest that there was something inherently unhealthful about the level of sodium in the fake meat product, and the initial reference by that same poster to the sodium in the ImpossibleWhopper was to support that point (vs. the plain meat) in a way that didn't seem like a fair argument.

    Most people who make a burger at home (not people who are super concerned about sodium and compliant to restrictions on it) likely aren't going to end up with a big difference (if any) between the burger and the BeyondBeef, and who knows which would have more sodium?

    Most people aren't going to see the difference in sodium between a Whopper and Impossible Whopper as significant.

    If someone is really, really concerned about avoiding sodium, they will have a burger, no salt or sodium containing condiments or pickles, etc., and might think the BeyondBeef's 390 mg sodium is too much for them, great, but that's hardly some kind of argument for the statement cited by the OP, as it was presented.

    (ImpossibleWhopper also has soy if one wants to avoid it, as do some other meat substitutes that some here consider to be within the realm of what is being discussed and some do not. The BeyondBeef product does not have soy. As I eat tofu and tempeh, I don't personally find soy a disqualifier, but worth noting that "meat substitutes" are not all the same.)

    I suspect that at some point the sodium content of the Impossible Whopper was 1,240 mg, given that there are more than a few website that say that mention that it has 1,240 mg of sodium. I only posted to point out that yes, the Impossible Whopper was being compared to a regular Whopper. I have no skin in the game as I more or less completely stopped eating fast food in my early teens and now only eat it when I'm in a major bind and there are no other options.
  • paperpuddingpaperpudding Member Posts: 5,714 Member Member Posts: 5,714 Member
    And if the corn syrup and sugar bother you that much, you can dump the contents of the can into a colander and rinse. (Taste suffers a bit, but well, that's why they put the sugar syrup in the can in the first place.)


    Or buy the canned fruit in its own no sugars added juice, instead of the one in syrup.

    Calories aside, that is my preference on taste anyway.
  • estherdragonbatestherdragonbat Member Posts: 5,287 Member Member Posts: 5,287 Member
    I don't buy much canned fruit, tbh. But I do have a hard time finding fruit cocktail that isn't in syrup. Peaches, pears, pineapple, no problem finding it in its own juice. But fruit cocktail, not so much. (Should probably point out that I need it kosher-certified, and in Toronto, I find it difficult to locate. Not that I've tried much recently.)
  • PAPYRUS3PAPYRUS3 Member Posts: 6,248 Member Member Posts: 6,248 Member
    Not a 'healthier' choice - lots of dubious ingredients - I do not eat meat but am not tempted in the least to have one of these things. They are suppose to taste like meat - which is one (there are other reasons too) of the reasons I am a vegetarian. I don't like the taste of it.

    It is expensive too.

    I guess I can get behind the fact that it might sway a meat eating family/person to go meat-less every once in a while - better for the the environment (Beyond Burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions and requires 46% less energy, 99% less water and 93% less land compared to a quarter pound of U.S. beef. www.cnbc.com.

    Not appealing to most non-meat eaters - these are for the meat eaters out there. I like burgers...but ones that don't taste like meat!
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