Is The Beyond Burger Healthy for You?
A new generation of plant-based products are taking veggie burgers to a whole new level. This week, a look at the Beyond Burger and how it compares with beef and other meat-free options.
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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a new meat alternative called the Impossible Burger and how it compares with real beef. Almost immediately, I started getting emails from listeners wanting to know how the Impossible Burger compared with another meatless burger called the Beyond Burger. So today, part two of what has become a series on meatless burgers that are taking veggie burgers to a much meatier level.
Kate wrote: “I tried the Beyond Burger once at a restaurant and thought it tasted delicious. I like the idea of having plant-based alternatives for things like burgers but I’m wary of the tendency to assume that just because something is vegan or vegetarian, it’s healthier (primarily because of your show). As a result, I don’t buy many processed vegan foods, but maybe this one is worth it?”
How does the Beyond Burger Compare to the Impossible Burger?
Like the Impossible Burger, the Beyond Burger is a veggie burger that goes out of its way to mimic the look, taste, and texture of real ground beef. If you’re the kind of vegan that finds the thought of eating meat revolting, then neither of these products is likely to appeal to you. But if, like Kate, you enjoy eating the real thing but like the idea of cutting down on your consumption, either one of these might fit the bill.
Like the Impossible Burger, the Beyond Burger looks like raw ground beef when you buy it. After cooking, it is still pink in the center. In the case of the Impossible Burger, the color comes from heme, a form of iron that is normally only found in animals. The color in the Beyond Burger, on the other hand, is supplied by beet extract. But the heme iron in the Impossible Burger imparts more than just color. Heme also contributes a characteristic metallic flavor that we associate primarily with red meat.
How Do Meatless Burgers Stack Up Nutritionally?
Let me start by saying that the nutritional differences between these two burgers are not huge. Both are under 300 calories for a 4-ounce burger. But there are a few differences worth mentioning.
Although the Beyond Burger is slightly higher in fat, it is much lower in saturated fat because it uses both canola and coconut oil, while the Impossible Burger uses only coconut oil. The Beyond Burger is also significantly lower in sodium and offers a small amount of fiber.