Buyer Beware: New Fake Meat Burgers Could Be Worse Than Real Meat Burgers

    Fake Meat

    By Adam

    The appeal of trying to improve health by altering diet is one of the biggest trends in healthy living today.

    In the past few years, the rise of vegetarian and vegan specific foods has created a billion-dollar industry that sells the promise that a plant-based diet is the key to perfect health.

    However, there is a reason not to believe the hype. Buyer beware: these new fake meat burgers could be worse than real meat burgers.

    Here’s the Reason Fake Meat Burgers Aren’t All That Healthy

    The argument about fake meat burgers being unhealthy comes down to 1 simple truth.

    Research indicates the more processed a food is, whether it’s a meat-based product or a plant-based product, the unhealthier it is.

    This has been confirmed in multiple research studies (and is the reason a french fry fried up in vegetable oil is worse for your health than a regular old potato.

    In the case of the Impossible Burger from Burger King, the list of ingredients Burger King used to make their product is 21 ingredients long.

    That amalgamation of all those ingredients to create an imitation patty might give vegetarians and vegans an alternative when they dine out, but the health benefits probably aren’t as significant as one may believe.

    John Mackey, the CEO of the nation’s #1 natural-foods grocery store was recently quoted saying that even though his company sells almost all of the popular meat alternatives on the market, he doesn’t necessarily believe these kinds of foods offer the health-benefits the companies claim they impart.

    In an interview with NBC, Mackey sounded off on the fake meat market.

    “I don’t think eating highly processed foods is healthy. I think people thrive on eating whole foods,” Mackey says. “As for health, I will not endorse that, and that is about as big of criticism that I will do in public.”

    “The [brands] who are capturing the imagination of people — and I’m not going to name these brands because I’m afraid I will be associated with the critique of it,” says Mackey, “but some of these that are extremely popular now that is taking the world by storm, if you look at the ingredients, they are super, highly processed foods.”

    “I don’t think eating highly processed foods is healthy. I think people thrive on eating whole foods,” Mackey says. “As for health, I will not endorse that, and that is about as big of criticism that I will do in public.”

    Mackey’s opinion isn’t just a personal opinion; dieticians specializing in plant-based diets tend to agree with Mackey’s assessment.

    Many of them point out that in addition to offering a combination of ingredients that aren’t healthy when processed, there are additional problems with fake meat burgers.

    Pea protein is one of the main ingredients in many of the fake meat burgers sold today. The problem with pea protein isn’t necessarily that it isn’t healthy, but it may introduce a deadly pesticide into a person’s diet.

    Dr. Andrew Weil wrote about that recently when addressing the dangers of fake meat burgers.

    On his blog, he wrote “Another concern I have about these products has to do with glyphosate, the active ingredient in the pesticide Roundup, which is used on soy and pea protein, ingredients in the fake burgers.

    ‘he Detox Project, a research organization that tests foods for glyphosate, reports finding high levels in organic pea protein than in conventional versions. (In general, however, glyphosate is much higher in conventional foods than organic.)

    One of its directors has been quoted in news reports as saying “we can hardly find a clean pea protein source anywhere.” In 2015 the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, and in 2017 California did the same and also required that products containing glyphosate carry warning labels on their packages.”

    That’s a general problem with fake meat products.

    When it comes to Burger King specifically, their decision to offer an option for vegetarians and vegans comes with a major drawback.

    The Impossible Whopper may consist of vegan ingredients, but the burger is fried in the same fryer as the rest of the meat products Burger King offers, which obviously isn’t vegan-friendly.

    On top of that, the initial climate-based concerns that sparked the rise of the fake meat market aren’t necessarily addressed with fake meat burgers.

    Detractors note that the amount of energy devoted to processing plants to make the fake meat burgers isn’t as climate-friendly as people are led to believe.

    Should You Eat a Fake Meat Burger?

    At the end of the day, eating a fake meat burger from Beyond Meat or Burger King comes down to what you’re looking to achieve by making the decision.

    If you’re seriously trying to protect the Earth, a fake meat burger might not be as good a choice as you were led to believe.

    And, if you’re eating them to benefit your health, that may not necessarily happen here either.

    However, if you’re looking to try something new, or, you’re vegetarian vegan and simply can’t stomach the idea of eating meat then a decision to eat a fake meat burger will prove beneficial for you in ways a regular meat burger wouldn’t be.