Healthy or Not: Plant-Based Burgers
I’ve had a few patients ask me recently whether the new plant-based burgers: the Impossible Burger or Beyond Burger - are healthy or not. These burgers claim to resemble the taste of a traditional beef burger more closely than soy-based or black bean burgers, but are they healthier than meat? Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts.
We compared the nutritional content of the two plant-based burgers along with a 90% lean beef burger, note the differences between the 3:
As you can see, the 90% lean beef burger has less calories and fat, a significantly lower sodium content and more protein, than the plant-based burgers.
Another piece of information to look at is if you get the Impossible Burger from a restaurant. For example, the Impossible Whopper from Burger King has 630 calories, 34 grams of fat, 1080 mg sodium, 58 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 25 grams of protein. The Impossible Whopper comes with the plant-based patty, but also lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, onion and a sesame seed bun. So as you can clearly see, just as a regular burger purchased at a fast food restaurant, the way it’s prepared and anything that is added definitely can pack on the calories and fat. .
My suggestion is to eat the Beyond and Impossible burgers in moderation as they both have extra sodium and calories compared with the 90% lean beef burger and are considered a processed food. Overall, I think both are big on taste and a great source of protein if you’re vegan or if you just want a break from meat. However, other protein sources such as poultry, seafood, red meat, tofu and beans are better every day choices.