Is Plant-Based Meat Healthy?

Tyler Lafleur

Plant-based meat Functional Medicine HPHI

Most people may not argue that plant-based meat is perhaps better for the environment (which is still highly debatable) but what most people still wonder is "Is plant-based meat good for our bodies?"

Keep reading to get the low down on Vegan meat and what it means for your health and wellbeing based on its ingredients.

What is "plant-based" meat?

Some of the most well known plant based burgers that you may have heard of are Burger King's Impossible Whopper, The Impossible Burger, and Beyond Burger.

Meatless burgers are really nothing new.

They have actually been around for some time now.

The only reason these new comers are making waves is because they are the first of their kind to take a plant-based burger, try to make it taste like meat, and then market it to meat-eaters.

Bold... I know!

While each of the recipes differ slightly, they share one commonality and quality: it requires quite a bit of extreme processing to coax a meat-like taste and texture from plant fibers and other plant ingredients.

Plant-based is not the same thing as eating plants. These are simply ingredients from a plant.

Sort of like a potato chip! You can fry the hell out of it in vegetable based oils and it is still considered a "plant-based" food.

See what I mean? Isn't marketing fun?!

Fleurish Health Grocery List

So, what are meatless burgers made of?

The Beyond Burger has the following list of ingredients:

Water, Pea Protein Isolate*, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Pomegranate Fruit Powder, Beet Juice Extract (for color)

Seems decent, right?

When you compare them patty to patty, both clock in at 240 calories and around 20 grams of protein per serving (19 grams for Impossible, 21 for beef).

But where does the protein come from?

Impossible burgers, for example, get their meat-like taste and texture from soy protein concentrate and a molecule called heme, which the company makes by fermenting genetically engineered yeast.

Mmm.. yum!

Beyond burger, on the other hand, relies on pea protein isolate.

Which makes it even more deceiving.

Not an "unhealthy protein" per se, but still inferior and more processed to the protein found in grass fed beef.

And their end product, the "bleeding" patties before you, are also potentially oozing of glyphosate (you know, the leading ingredient in Round Up weed killer... spicy, I know!)

And what about the oils they are made from?

Per Alex Fergus, ( an expert in the nutritional space):

"the addition of canola oil to this product is very suspect. Canola oil is mostly made up of what are called 'polyunsaturated fatty acids'. In this case, it's omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are already overrepresented in the human diet. Excess polyunsaturated fatty acid consumption has been linked to heart disease, cancer, excess chronic inflammation, and diabetes."

But the worst part about this fake meat and the companies that produce them?

Their marketing of their products misleads you into thinking you're eating something healthy even though it's far inferior to meat.

And, in regard to righteous purposes, it isn't as though they are holding steadfast to their "meatless" mantras.

For example, one reader reports that it seems as though the companies that produce meatless meat products have actually gone out of their way to make sure their products won’t simply target vegetarians. 

Burger King’s Impossible Whopper, for example, comes bathed in mayo (not vegan at all) and when they went to get an Impossible Burger at a San Francisco based restaurant, nearly every selection paired it with bacon bits. (go figure)

The bottomline: just because they carry the title of "plant-based" doesn't mean they are any healthier for you especially in regard to heart health.

Placing processed vegetable oils between two slices on gluten-based loaf is not better than eating natural grass fed beef and double the serving of raw or steamed veggies. 

The research doesn't show that nor has the past 15 years of Functional Medicine case studies throughout nutritional science exhibited that one bit.

HPHI How do I measure my inflammation?

Whole Foods are often better than Processed, No Matter How You Spin It!

We keep attempting to buy dietary loop holes that don't currently exist.

If you’re hoping for a burger that’s as good for you as a fresh salad, nutritional science still has a long way to go.

An Impossible Whopper does not equal a bowl of broccoli... no matter how much lipstick you slap on that pig!

Not that these new vegan meats are bad for you in moderation, but to think that you are decreasing inflammation and heart disease risk by ingesting these daily isn't practical.

Always aim to eat to decrease inflammation first, then modify accordingly.

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