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FAKE MEAT – Innovation or “Impossible” to Eat?

Today I want to take a deeper look at something that may be influenced to a high degree by marketing…  What I’m talking about is fake meat.

You’ve probably seen the ads and heard about two big companies that have recently introduced vegan and vegetarian fake meat burgers… 

And even Burger King has jumped on the craze with their own Impossible Burger.

Now, seeing as I love a good burger, I thought I’d check out Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat firsthand to give you an eyewitness report…

Disclaimer: I don’t recommend eating burgers frequently – they should only be enjoyed occasionally. This experiment is only meant to see if there are viable fake meat options for vegans and vegetarians who want to enjoy a burger once in a while.

So over the past two days, I’ve tried burgers from both and to answer the question that’s surely burning on your lips… 

How Do They Stack Up to a Regular Beef Burger?

For this taste test, I picked up some Beyond Meat patties from my local Whole Foods to cook at home… 

And for Impossible Foods, I simply ordered the Impossible Whopper from a Burger King drive-thru.

Now, there are a few things I want to consider when comparing these fake meats with a traditional beef burger… 

1. The Look

I have to say that you’ll have a hard time telling the Impossible Whopper from its meat counterpart based on looks alone – the same famous BK grill lines were there and for all intents and purposes, it LOOKED like a Whopper.

As for Beyond Meat, the uncooked patties looked similar to real meat, but you can see that there’s something “off” – the pink is a lighter color, which is a dead giveaway… 

On the other hand, once you cook them on the grill as I did, they develop the same brown and black coloration as a regular burger, so much that you would have to have them side-by-side to tell a difference.

VERDICT: Both fake meat burgers pass the looks test with flying colors.

2. The Texture

When you bite into a burger, what you want is that juicy, fat texture without feeling too soft or too hard… 

And this is where the two fake meat brands are very different… 

The burger patty from Beyond Meat was incredibly close to the real thing – just the right amount of chewiness and the fatty texture was almost exactly the same.

However, the Impossible Whopper fell pretty flat… 

It was dry and both my brain and my mouth knew that this wasn’t meat.

VERDICT: Beyond Meat’s texture is extraordinary, while Impossible Foods misses the mark.

3. The Taste

Of course, you know that the most important part of any burger is how it tastes… 

A good burger can look terrible, but if it has the right flavor, you’ll eat every bite and love it.

And in the case of our two fake meats, Beyond Meat again was head and shoulders above Impossible Foods… 

The “Faux Whopper” was flavorless, but my grilled Beyond Meat patty had an interesting flavor that was good. Yet, on its own, it didn’t have the depth of flavor or “meatiness” of beef… 

But when I took a bite of my wife’s burger fixed with all the toppings, it was a completely different story. Everything fell into place and I felt like I was eating a real beef burger.

VERDICT: A fully loaded burger with a Beyond Meat patty is incredibly tasty and similar to beef.

So there you have it… 

As much as I wanted to say that nothing compares to a real beefy burger, Beyond Meat’s product is surprisingly good from all angles and from a taste perspective, I would definitely have another one.

As for the Impossible Whopper, I can safely say that I won’t be ordering it again, so we can drop Impossible Foods from the discussion.

But let’s go deeper…

What Exactly Is IN a Fake Meat Burger?

You probably know that fake meat is almost always based on vegetable protein, and that’s exactly the case here, but the sources are different… 

Beyond Meat uses a pea protein as its main ingredient and a variety of components to give it a fatty texture, including canola oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter.

There are also quite a few other vegetable and fruit ingredients to round out the list – just take a look at the full ingredients list from Beyond Meat’s website:
“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)”

But when you know what goes in a fake burger, the next logical question is this… 

Are They Healthy?

Here is where I have a problem with Beyond Meat’s burger because there are a few things that stick out from the ingredients and nutrition label… 

First and foremost is the sodium. Unlike a regular burger where you control how much salt goes in, if you’re cooking a Beyond Meat burger, the salt is already added… 

And it’s a considerable amount – 16% of your total daily sodium intake.

Plus, the saturated fat of 6 grams per patty is just as high as a regular beef burger, even though there’s no meat.

And to take things a few steps further…

You have to consider that this is a highly processed product – nearly every ingredient has gone through extensive processing before becoming part of the burger, which is a giant red flag to me… 

That’s because eating food as close as possible to its natural state delivers the most nutrients… 

And with that, I would say that Beyond Meat’s burger, despite how tasty it might be, is not as healthy as its marketing tries to make it appear.

Fake Meat Final Verdict

Overall, I’ve decided that I WON’T be including Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods burgers in my diet, for the primary reason that I don’t think they add any health advantages… 

And I like to keep my processed food intake to the bare minimum possible.

With that said, if you prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet, then these burgers are a valid option – they provide a solid dose of protein, and, in the case of Beyond Meat, give you that satisfying feel of eating a burger… 

And I can’t lie – I did enjoy the experience of eating Beyond Meat’s burger… 

But I don’t recommend eating them all the time.

There’s plenty of high-protein, vegetarian whole foods out there to choose from that are much healthier options.

Well, I hope I’ve shed some light on the fake meat trend that’s currently sweeping the nation and you’re better prepared to make an informed decision.

If you’re interested in more vegetarian options, you might want to learn more about the health benefits of mushrooms.

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