I am on the horns of a dilemma. As a (mostly) vegan consumer, I welcome something savory and easily prepared. These plant- based, meatless burgers and sausages sound like an answer to a prayer. I can cook one of those in 15 minutes, instead of the hour it takes to make a bunch of bean burgers. But do I want to?
Since these wonders are becoming wildly popular, I thought I would take a closer look. The California company, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, is raking in a fortune. I read somewhere that these products are in 20,000 grocery stores and 53, 000 fast food restaurants already
I took a picture of the ingredients in the Impossible Burger in my local grocery store.
As you can (barely) see, there are 8 grams of saturated fat in the Impossible Burger. That would represent 40% of my daily allowance for fat, based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet. Evidently, I could eat 60% more grams of fat and not exceed my “allowance” for the day. I do not want to consume even the 40%, let alone another 60%. I guess I’m just not a fan of heart attacks and strokes. Yet it is close to the amount of fat in a beef burger in a 2,000-calorie diet.
Moving along, the Impossible Burger has 3 grams of fiber. Plants have fiber; meat does not, and this is a plant-based product. Like that once popular commercial where the old lady asks, “Where’s the beef?” I ask, “Where’s the plants? There is soy and potato protein. That’s all. No other plants. (But doesn’t “plant based” sound so very healthy?) The Impossible Burger has no cholesterol. However those 8 grams of saturated fat will make up for that lack quickly.
Then we have natural flavors – which legally can mean any number of chemicals the producers are under no obligation to list. After more chemicals, we get to vitamins and minerals that are inserted into the product (as opposed to being part of plants because there are not enough plants in this “plant based” burger to contribute many vitamins or minerals themselves.)
Visit https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/impossible-burger#benefits for a comparison of nutrients and information about the pros and cons of Impossible Burgers and regular burgers.
The Impossible Burger, compared to a beef burger, almost looks fairly healthy if you don’t mind ultra processed food. My greatest concern is that the soy is genetically modified (GMO). I have read many comments by “scientists” that claim GMOs pose no health problems. It is considered GRAS ( generally regarded as safe). From what I’ve read that means they don’t know of anyone dying from eating it yet. Not that they looked very hard.
The FDA approves products it does not test itself. It accepts the research presented by the product’s manufacturers. The producers, meanwhile, are under no obligation to show the FDA any research that indicates there may be problems. They submit research that makes the product appear good. (How many FDA approved medications have been recalled for serious side effects?) Other scientists, scientists who are unbiased and not employed by food manufacturers, have been looking at GMOs and they are finding shoddy research that leaves them with many concerns. https://nutritionstudies.org/gmo-dangers-facts-you-need-to-know/
It seems both burgers have good and bad points. I don’t like the GMO soy and the insecticides that doused the plants in the Impossible Burger. There are just as many calories, more fat, and carbs in the plant burger, so it won’t help me lose weight. (I can eat a huge plateful of broccoli for the same calories as a tiny chunk of meat.)
Red meat increases the risk of cardio-vascular diseases as well as colo-rectal cancers. Unless the cow was raised under organic regulations, I am exposed to antibiotics as well as the GMO corn she was fed (You are what you eat, eats.)
We use far too many acres of farmland to grow that corn. Cows, especially in CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations), produce piles of poop that eventually pollute our waterways. So from an environmental perspective, these meatless burgers can be a good thing
However, as we relegate our food supply to laboratories, we lose our connection to the land that nurtured humankind for millennia. (I recently heard they now have created coffee without the coffee bean. For you who know me, you know that’s a declaration of war.)
Consider this. If most of our food is produced in laboratories, those who control the food supply, control the people. Gone will be the independent farmers. Backyard gardens will be a waste of time because the only seeds available will be GMO seeds. Monsanto (now Bayer) already has bought up a majority of the seeds in the world and can now do with them what they want. Fortunately, some people have started seed banks. (In fact, you could easily harvest your own seeds) As a friend said, “Soylent Green may not be far away.”
For now, the only winner (besides Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods), is Bessie the cow. With apologies to Hispanic readers, she says, “Mooo-chow-grass-ias.