GLEN DALE, W.VA. (WTRF)- From the grocery stores, to chain restaurants, you’re starting to see plant-based meat mimics just about everywhere.
And while these options might taste like meat and be better for the environment’s health, they’re not the healthiest option for humans.
“If you’re looking for more of a plant-based protein, vegan choice, then yes, it would be healthier. If you’re looking to cut calories and fat, this would not be a healthier option. It’s actually higher in sodium, doesn’t have less calories or fat then a regular lean beef burger would,” said Jill Spangler registered dietician for WVU Reynolds Memorial Hospital
So, what goes into these plant-based meats?
“They actually use a combination of Mung bean, pea protein, to get the protein portion of it, some rice to make it a complete protein, and then they use coconut oil as the fat source. Coconut oil is actually high in saturated fat so as a dietician we wouldn’t recommend coconut oil in comparison to olive oil or canola oil,” said Spangler.
The impossible meat is made with a genetically modified organism known has heme, which is naturally found in meat. While the beyond meat is GMO free but is still processed.
“I would consider this a processed food, yes. The beyond burger, the impossible burger, since it does have preservatives added to it. A more nature choice would be lean ground beef that doesn’t have any fillers, doesn’t have any chemicals or preservatives added to it,” said Spangler.
If you’re trying to eat better, sticking to more organic foods or grass-fed meat would be your best bet.
“As a dietician we would want patients to choose natural food products because they are the healthiest for us, give us the most vitamins and minerals. Processed foods remove some of those nutrients that are beneficial to us and add in other chemicals and additives that aren’t in our best interest,” said Spangler.
Just as you wouldn’t eat a burger daily, vegetarians shouldn’t eat the Impossible burger daily but that doesn’t mean it’s bad to treat yourself on occasion. The key to health is moderation.