Thanks for this. I find the criticisms of fake meat to be so outrageous – and unscientific.
- Beef is one ingredient so it must be better. Are you kidding? Beef, just like any hunk of living tissue, is a mixture of thousands of chemicals (fats, proteins, carbs, connective tissue, signaling molecules…).
- These veggie burgers contain chemicals so that must be bad. Everything is chemicals. See above! Rather than paint all chemicals with the same brush, let’s critically examine them. Every single ingredient in these burgers is harmless. There is no correlation between number of syllables and health value. I wouldn’t feed them to my kids if this were not the case. FYI, the levels of pesticides in these burgers are as low as those of organic produce (not that conventional levels are worth stressing about either…). I worry much more about some of the naturally occurring “chemicals” in beef…
- Beef is natural so it must be better. Instead of appealing to nature, why not do a nutritional analysis? Same calories, same protein, same iron, same vit B12 and zinc (for some brands). Yet, faux meat have less saturated fat (some a hair less, others a lot less), which is linked to heart health. Faux meats get sat fat from coconut oil, which may improve “good” HDL cholesterol (but, like red meat, raise “bad” LDL cholesterol). Red meat is a class 2 “probable” carcinogen, most strongly linked to colon cancer. Plants do not contain red meat’s proposed pre-cancerous compounds. Veggie burgers carry a far lower risk of E. coli contamination (you can eat them raw!) because they don’t come from slaughterhouses.
Chana Davis, PhD
Founder, Fueled by Science
More gory details on beef vs Beyond Meat and Impossible Burgers here: