Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods produce delicious plant-based meat alternatives. The fact they are succeeding in a meat eater’s world is proof of that. However, they are far from healthy foods.

Plant-based meat is rapidly growing in popularity. This has created a surge in awareness and put meat alternatives into the spotlight.

2018 was the year that meat alternatives were truly put on the radar of many people outside of the world of vegans. And 2019 was the year that they became a force to be reckoned with. Beyond Meat’s IPO made international headlines and showed people that plant-based alternatives are here to disrupt the system.

Plant-based meat isn’t anything new. In fact, they have been around for decades. Tofurky was launched all the way back in 1980 and the Boca Foods Company, maker of the famous Boca Burger, dates back to 1979. And while those products are still popular to this day, the plant-based meat industry has come a long way since the days of few choices and scarce availability.

What is plant-based meat?

Plant-based meat is an animal-free alternative to common processed foods that are typically made of animal parts. These products are typically made from soy, vegetables, seitan, tempeh, pea proteins, and other plant-based ingredients.

And while plant-based meat used to consist mainly of soy and vegetables, new technologies have made it possible to create meat-free hamburgers that can even fool meat eaters.

Plant-based meat (like Beyond Burgers) is a vegan product that is made from non-animal sources. While these meat alternatives might not be the healthiest options (more on that soon), they are appealing to almost everyone. The target audience ranges from vegans all the way to meat eaters.

Plant-based meat is different from lab-grown meat, or clean meat, which is also starting to appear a lot in the news. Lab-grown meats are not vegan. They are 100{85424e366b324f7465dc80d56c21055464082cc00b76c51558805a981c8fcd63} animal products. Lab-grown meats, or clean meat, comes from animal cells that are swabbed from the mouth of live animals.

What is plant-based meat made of?

Back in the day, many plant-based meat alternatives were compressed vegetable patties or soy patties. Some of the brands that made these burgers famous were Morningstar Farms and Boca Burgers, two companies that are still around today and wildly popular. But, again, let’s look at the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger as those are the products currently making waves and breaking the plant-based diet into the mainstream.

To the surprise of many, the Beyond Burger has no soy, gluten, or GMOs. It also doesn’t qualify as a veggie patty because it isn’t made out of vegetables. The four main ingredients of a Beyond Burger are water, pea protein isolate, canola oil, and refined coconut oil. Beyond that, there are many other ingredients that help bind the burger and preserve the patty.

Beyond Burger ingredients:
Pea protein isolate, expeller pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, water, yeast extract, maltodextrin, natural flavors, gum arabic, sunflower oil, salt, succinic acid, acetic acid, non-GMO modified food starch, cellulose from bamboo, methylcellulose, potato starch, beet juice extract (for color), ascorbic acid (to maintain color), annatto extract (for color), citrus fruit extract (to maintain quality), and, last but not least, vegetable glycerin.

Impossible Burger ingredients:
Water, textured wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein, natural flavors, 2{85424e366b324f7465dc80d56c21055464082cc00b76c51558805a981c8fcd63} or less of: leghemoglobin (heme protein), yeast extract, salt, soy protein isolate, konjac gum, xanthan gum, thiamin (vitamin B1), zinc, niacin, vitamin B6, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and vitamin B12.

Is plant-based meat healthy?

Many people think of veganism and plant-based eating as a much healthier lifestyle. While many studies point out that this is true, simply going plant-based isn’t a guarantee that you will automatically be healthy. Beyond Meats and Impossible Foods produce delicious plant-based meat alternatives. The fact they are succeeding in a meat eater’s world is proof of that. However, they are far from healthy foods.

It is very possible to follow a plant-based diet and only eat whole foods that provide all of the nutrients you need for optimal health. But junk food exists in the plant-based world. In fact, more and more highly processed vegan junk foods are hitting shelves and making it so people on a plant-based diet have more choices, healthy or not.

Let’s look to see if the most popular items are healthy or not…

Comparing the Beyond Burger to the Impossible Burger, the Beyond Burger has less sodium, less fat, less saturated fat, fewer calories, and more fiber. So a quick glance shows that the Beyond Burger is better.

However, a single Beyond Burger still contains 31{85424e366b324f7465dc80d56c21055464082cc00b76c51558805a981c8fcd63} of your daily suggested fat intake, 25{85424e366b324f7465dc80d56c21055464082cc00b76c51558805a981c8fcd63} of your saturated fat, and 16{85424e366b324f7465dc80d56c21055464082cc00b76c51558805a981c8fcd63} of your sodium. That is literally just the patty, not taking into account a roll or any toppings you add to the burger.

But let’s get one thing straight. Neither the Beyond Burger or the Impossible Burger are being advertised as healthy snacks. They are being advertised and sold as plant-based alternatives when it comes to snacking on junk food. No one goes to Burger King to get a healthy meal. People go to Burger King to get a fast, quick bite. And to be able to do that while buying a burger that tastes amazing and reminds meat eaters of the real thing without having to kill a cow is a wonderful thing.

Original source: https://sentientmedia.org