Those Plant-Based "Burgers" Aren't Better For You, So Why Are YouEating Them?
On 2019-09-16 6:32 p.m., Leroy N. Soetoro wrote:
The title question is being asked by Kate Bernot at The Takeout, and its
a good one. Before anyone starts imagining a totally meatless future
(speaking of horror shows), we should figure out why so many people are
flocking to plant-based €śmeat€ť like the Impossible Whopper and its
cousins. Since experts are quickly concluding that these products are no
healthier for you (or for the environment) than their traditional animal-
based counterparts, whats the attraction making these offerings
(Insert record scratch sound effect here.) Whoa! Hold on one second. Did
someone just say that these €śimpossible€ť foods arent any better for you?
Wasnt that supposed to be the whole idea? As it turns out, theyre not.
So the people peddling them had better figure out another market hook if
they want their businesses to continue booming.
The latest €śwoke€ť take on vegan fast food, like the Impossible Whopper and
Del Taco Beyond Meats tacos, is this: Theyre not any healthier than the
standard meat versions of those items. Outlets from NBC News to Fox
Business to CNBC are all sounding the alarm that these menu items often
contain roughly the same amount of calories than their beefy
counterparts€”and often pack in more sodium. But is health even the real
reason customers are ordering these Impossible and Beyond options in the
A July 2019 report from NPD Group found that 95% of the customers who
order faux-meat fast food options arent strictly vegan or vegetarian.
Theyre people who do regularly eat meat€”€śflexatarian€ť, if you will€”but
perhaps are trying to reduce the percentage of red meat in their diets by
incorporating more plant-based ingredients.
Read it for yourself. Heres NBC News. €śThe Impossible Burger and Beyond
Meat arent healthier. Fast foods meatless marvels are just P.R.€ť
How about Fox Business? €śPlant-based burgers may not be as healthy as you
Lets hear from Julieanna Hever, a plant-based dietician at CNBC: €śTheyre
not much healthier than a meat-based burger. Im concerned about the
saturated fat levels as well as the excessive amounts of amino acids.€ť
The author offers up four possible reasons people are eating these
laboratory experiments if we include the mistaken belief that they are
healthier for you. But since youre usually taking in the same amount of
calories or more, plus more salt, thats kind of out the window. Some may
be doing it because its a novelty€¦ something new and cool to talk about.
They might also be doing it in the belief that its more friendly to the
environment, or because of worries over animal welfare in the beef
If those really are the main drivers of sales, this may turn out to be a
fad that doesnt last very long. If that many people were all that
concerned about the impact of the cattle industry on the environment or
the conditions the animals are raised under, beef sales would have
plummeted long ago.
Not without a palatable alternative.
The only one that might stick is the stated reason the founders of these
companies have been telling us all along. They want to drive the livestock
industry out of business and get rid of the cows to save the planet. And
if they can make the sale to enough of this emerging fast-food market, we
might be in trouble. But somehow I dont think so. Call me a starry-eyed
optimist, but I think people will tire of the novelty quickly enough and
realize that they miss eating good old reliable beef, just as nature
Is that supposed to be a serious remark? "Nature" doesn't "intend"
humans to eat beef.
Also, I suspect that more information will eventually get out to the
general public about the €śheme€ť thats used in the manufacturing process
and the other substances they produce. Id be willing to bet that a lot of
people eating these burgers are under the impression that €śplant-based€ť
just means its a new type of veggie burger. But thats not what this is
at all. These burgers are a mad scientists chemistry experiment running
off the rails. And if all of you out there who are scarfing them down
suddenly start growing tails in a couple of months, dont say I didnt try
to warn you.
So this is a tongue in cheek article, OK.
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