Are Summer BBQ Alternatives Really Healthy?

August 28, 2020

“Plant-based” burgers, or veggie burgers, have been on the market for a while—do you want to know what are they really made of? Are they good for you?

While traditional veggie burgers have been around for years (typically made of whole beans, rice, corn, etc. and shaped into a disc), alternatives from companies like Impossible Foods™ and Beyond Meat™ offer something different: a look, taste and texture that might pass for the real thing. But one thing is for sure—neither option should be considered a health food.

Here’s a comparison of the nutrition information from each company compared to a real beef patty.*

Nutritional Info Real Beef (80% lean) ImpossibleFoods (TM) BeyondMeat (TM)
Calories 287 220 270
Fat 23 g 13 g 20 g
Sat. Fat 9 g 10 g 5 g
Protein 19 g 20 g 20 g
Carb 0 g 5 g 5 g
Sodium 75 mg 430 mg 380 mg
Fiber 0 g 0 g 3 g
Sugar 0 g <1 g 0 g

*Based on 4oz. patties.

Neither company is marketing these burgers for their health benefits. If you’re watching your sodium intake, pay particular attention to those eye-popping numbers above. To make these burgers taste like the real thing, salt and saturated fats are added—often in excess. Depending on your dietary restrictions, eating real meat may be healthier than one of these alternatives.

However, if you already follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, these options can provide a tasty alterative, even when dining out. Well-known chain restaurants like Burger King, McDonald’s and KFC are offering meatless options to their customers.

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