What’s the real beef with fake meat?

PRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM F. SHABAN
*According to Nutritionix. Actual nutrition may vary depending on preparation

If there’s a time to start cutting animal products out of your diet, it’s now — plant-based meat alternatives have been popping up at popular chains such as Burger King, KFC, Del Taco, Qdoba, White Castle, Dunkin’ Donuts and so many more, offering omnivores a realistic meal to eat in place of meat. But what exactly are these alternatives? Are they safe? Do they really taste like meat? If you’re like most people, you have a lot of questions about these products suddenly infiltrating previously herbivore-hating menus. Luckily, there’s some answers.

There are two meat alternative brands that seem to be the most popular: Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. According to the ASPCA, Beyond Meat is pea-protein based and Impossible Foods is based in wheat, potato and soy protein. While these ingredients seem like anything but meat, a variety of strategies, such as soy leghemoglobin or beet juice, make the products look and (subjectively) taste like the real thing — so much so, that strict, long-time vegans have expressed online that the flavor and texture actually makes them uncomfortable.

Unfortunately for many plant-based or vegan nutrition junkies, these burgers aren’t necessarily the healthiest options on the menu. Neither burger contains any cholesterol, but the rest of the nutrition facts aren’t that far off from a regular burger. What’s important to remember is that these burgers were created to look, taste and feel like meat. With that said, it’s usually not advisable to eat fast-food beef burgers for every meal, and it’s probably not the best to reach for these all the time, either.

Even if these fake meats aren’t the new superfoods, they still don’t contribute to factory farming, animal slaughter and the slew of other downsides to eating meat. For people who are just looking to reduce their animal product consumption, these alternatives may be perfect. With accessibility booming, cutting meat out of your diet has never been easier or more convenient. Gone are the days of ordering soggy side salads or a plate of fries for your vegan meal — now you can get an entire burger just like the rest of your friends. However, if you’re a vegan looking to get a taste of these burgers, remember to do some research or ask the restaurant whether or not the preparations are vegan. While the burgers themselves are plant-based, the toppings, bun or cooking methods used at each individual location may not be. Also, be forewarned: many restaurants that offer Beyond or Impossible burgers charge more for the plant-based burgers than their beef counterparts.

Whether you’re curious or you’ve sworn off meat, you might find a new fast-food go-to when you’re in a hurry, out with friends or just looking to treat yourself a bit with these products. If you’re interested in reading more on either burger, finding a location where you can try them or seeing the rest of their ingredients, visit beyondmeat.com or impossiblefoods.com.

If there’s a time to start cutting animal products out of your diet, it’s now — plant-based meat alternatives have been popping up at popular chains such as Burger King, KFC, Del Taco, Qdoba, White Castle, Dunkin’ Donuts and so many more, offering omnivores a realistic meal to eat in place of meat. But what exactly are these alternatives? Are they safe? Do they really taste like meat? If you’re like most people, you have a lot of questions about these products suddenly infiltrating previously herbivore-hating menus. Luckily, there’s some answers.

There are two meat alternative brands that seem to be the most popular: Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. According to the ASPCA, Beyond Meat is pea-protein based and Impossible Foods is based in wheat, potato and soy protein. While these ingredients seem like anything but meat, a variety of strategies, such as soy leghemoglobin or beet juice, make the products look and (subjectively) taste like the real thing — so much so, that strict, long-time vegans have expressed online that the flavor and texture actually makes them uncomfortable.

Unfortunately for many plant-based or vegan nutrition junkies, these burgers aren’t necessarily the healthiest options on the menu. Neither burger contains any cholesterol, but the rest of the nutrition facts aren’t that far off from a regular burger. What’s important to remember is that these burgers were created to look, taste and feel like meat. With that said, it’s usually not advisable to eat fast-food beef burgers for every meal, and it’s probably not the best to reach for these all the time, either.

Even if these fake meats aren’t the new superfoods, they still don’t contribute to factory farming, animal slaughter and the slew of other downsides to eating meat. For people who are just looking to reduce their animal product consumption, these alternatives may be perfect. With accessibility booming, cutting meat out of your diet has never been easier or more convenient. Gone are the days of ordering soggy side salads or a plate of fries for your vegan meal — now you can get an entire burger just like the rest of your friends. However, if you’re a vegan looking to get a taste of these burgers, remember to do some research or ask the restaurant whether or not the preparations are vegan. While the burgers themselves are plant-based, the toppings, bun or cooking methods used at each individual location may not be. Also, be forewarned: many restaurants that offer Beyond or Impossible burgers charge more for the plant-based burgers than their beef counterparts.

Whether you’re curious or you’ve sworn off meat, you might find a new fast-food go-to when you’re in a hurry, out with friends or just looking to treat yourself a bit with these products. If you’re interested in reading more on either burger, finding a location where you can try them or seeing the rest of their ingredients, visit beyondmeat.com or impossiblefoods.com.

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