Is The Impossible Burger Healthy? And Is It Healthier Than Meat? The Impossible Burger, unlike beef, contains no hormones or antibiotics - Media Credit: Impossible Foods

Is The Impossible Burger Healthy? And Is It Healthier Than Meat?

Impossible Foods is often praised for its low environmental impact. But when it comes to the nutritional value of its products, opinions are stirred

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3 Minutes Read

Impossible Foods has quickly become one of the biggest plant-based meat brands in the world. But, is it healthy? And is it healthier than meat?

The Impossible Burger has been applauded for its environmental benefits – using 96 percent less land, 87 percent less water, and 89 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than beef.

But when it comes to health – opinions are stirred.

Is the Impossible Burger healthy?

Renowned physician and bestselling author Dr. Michael Greger has recently published a video comparing the Impossible Burger to animal-beef.

“Plant-based burgers win when it comes to trans fat and cholesterol,” he states.

“We all know trans fat is a serious potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. But, it’s also been recently associated with symptoms of depression, lower testosterone, and dementia.

“Higher levels of trans fats in the blood are associated with up to 50 percent higher risk of developing dementia including Alzheimer’s.”

Dr. Greger also states that any intake level of trans fat above 0 percent can increase cholesterol concentration and is not advised.

Is the Impossible Burger healthier than meat?

He also says the Impossible Burger, unlike beef, contains no hormones, no antibiotics, and isn’t designated as ‘probably cancer-causing’ by the World Health Organization. 

However, he does point out that an Impossible Patty contains 370 mg of sodium. This around a quarter of the American Heart Association’s 1500mg daily upper sodium limit. 

When it comes to saturated fat, Greger says beef and the Impossible Burger both contain 8g of saturated. 

“But these do seem to be outliers,” he then adds. “The largest study of the nutritional value of plant-based meats to date [shows] saturated fat levels of similar products only average about two grams per serving – much better than the animal-based equivalent.

‘Processing plants can eliminate 90% of the fiber, but processing plants through animals eliminate 100% of the fiber’.

‘Proccessing plants can eliminate fiber’

“Well, if you look at the fiber content, for example, yes, to see any fiber in a burger is a good thing. But compare that to a whole food… If you ate the same amount of protein from yellow peas, there’d be almost no saturated fat and sodium and a whopping 20 grams of fiber.

So yes, processing plants can eliminate 90 percent of the fiber – but processing plants through animals eliminate 100 percent of the fiber.”

Dr. Greger concluded that while dietary guidelines should continue to emphasize a diet rich in plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds, and legumes, but when it comes to opting for Impossible Burger over beef: it’s a ‘no brainer’. 

‘Substantially better for consumers’

Last year, Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown responded to critics who claim the brand’s patties are unhealthy.

In an interview with CNBC Make It, Brown said its products are ‘substantially better for consumers than what it replaces’.

“It replaces a burger made from a cow, not a kale salad. So, if you’re saying this isn’t the ultimate ‘superfood’ – you’re right,” he argued.

“But it’s intended to be a product that is healthier for the consumer than a burger made from a cow [and it’s] better for the planet than a burger made from a cow. And for many consumers, [it’s] more delicious.”

RELATED: Is Beyond Meat Healthy? And Is It Healthier Than Meat?

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The Author

Liam Gilliver

Liam is the former Deputy Editor of Plant Based News. He has written for The Independent, Huffington Post, Attitude Magazine, and more. He is also the author of 'We're Worried About Him'.

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Fred Knight
Fred Knight
1 year ago

I’ll stick to meat. You know what people have eaten for hundreds of thousands of years and our bodies were designed to be nourished by. You can eat this laboratory concocted highly processed food. Not sure you can replace the protein and fat needs for billions of people that way though. How much protein and fat per SF in a cattle ranch vs a farm of soy or peas?

Cow burger = 1 ingredient

Impossible burger = 20 ingredients most of which I can’t pronounce

William Todd
William Todd
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred Knight
Pete M
Pete M
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred Knight

Your body is not designed to eat meat, otherwise we wouldn’t have to cook meat to make it palatable.

Just look at the physiology of carnivores, we’re nothing like them.

And one ‘cow burger’ does not equal one ingredient. Over 85% of the world’s soy is used for animal feed alone.

Rowland Ross
Rowland Ross
1 year ago
Reply to  Pete M

Humans weren’t designed, they evolved, ( 7million yrs of adaption to animal foods ). You don’t need to cook meat, ( never heard of tartare or the Inuit ). You do need to cook grains and pulses to render them digestible and remove toxins.
Physiology nothing like herbivores, most mammals are omnivorous.
You don’t need to eat animal foods fed on soy, never heard of free range and organic.

Fred Knight
Fred Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Rowland Ross

Took the words right out of my mouth. We can’t eat wheat or rice or even most vegetables without cooking them first. The only reason some meats would make us sick to eat raw is because we adapted to cooked food and lost the compounds in our gut that we adapted to kill bacteria found in raw meat. Meat is hands down the best source of protein and fat which are the two macro nutrients we need to live. Carbohydrates are not necessary for survival and our conversion to eating large quantities is responsible for the obesity issue we have today. Most objective experts believe there’s no way to meet the fat and protein requirements for the entire world via plant based foods. You’d strip the earth to make room for the necessary agriculture and what happens if the crops don’t come in? We starve? We’re omnivores. Always have been and always will be.

Haleh Niazmand
Haleh Niazmand
1 year ago
Reply to  Rowland Ross

The animals that evolved to eat meat, such as felines and cainines have very short intestines, hence by eating meat , they DO NOT develop high cholesterol, heart disease or blood clots. Humans on the other hand, have long intestines and do.

Rowland Ross
Rowland Ross
1 year ago
Reply to  Haleh Niazmand

( 1 The human intestine is classified as “intermediary”. The “ Encephalization Quotient and presence of Heme Iron Receptors” needs to be factored in when looking at Hominin Evolution.
( 2 Unlike their wild counterparts, domesticated carnivores do develop circulatory problems as well as diabetes.
( 3 Diseases of the type you mention are rare to non existent in non agricultural humans ( all of whom consume ASFs ( animal sourced foods ). The conditions you mention are a small part of a category referred to as NCDs ( non communicable diseases ), they are often referred to as “ modern degenerative diseases or diseases of civilisation”. Perhaps the clue you are looking for is in the word MODERN

Taylor B
Taylor B
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred Knight

First off we were DESIGNED, and not EVOLVED to eat plants. The probability of a functioning organism is so astronomically improbable, where improbable and impossible are nearly identical. That said, we were designed to eat plants. The people who claim that we were meat eaters for so long didn’t even read the studies by Loren Cordain and acknowledge that there was a split amongst him and his colleagues because the vast majority of the study supported the humans living near the equator and ate a fiber rich diet. And not to mention our ability to break down starch more then any other animal because of the proteins in our saliva. We are plant eaters by design, and the only reason we can’t get all essential vitamins is because of soil depletion. That’s why even animals are given supplements. Plants are the original and perfect human diet.

Ryan
Ryan
11 months ago

Excerpt from Sri Yukteswar’s book, “The Holy Science”, written in 1894. Chapter 3 – “The Procedure”, p. 63. It really sheds some light on the Vedic approach to Diet and Disease.

What is natural food for man?
*-*-*-*-*

First, to select our natural food, our observation should be directed to the formation of the organs that aid in digestion and nutrition, the teeth and digestive canal.; to the natural tendency of the organs of the sense which guide animals to their food; and to the nourishment of the young.

Observation of teeth.
*-*-*-*-*

By observation of the teeth we find that in carnivorous animals the incisors are little developed, but the canines are of striking length, smooth and pointed, to seize the prey. The molars are also pointed; these points, however, do not meet, but fit closely side by side to separate the muscle fibers.

In herbivorous the incisors are strikingly developed, the canines are stunted (though occasionally developed into weapons, as in elephants), the molars are broad-topped and furnished with enamel on the sides only.

In the frugivorous animals all the teeth are of nearly the same height; the canines are little projected, conical and blunt (obviously not intended to seize pray, but for exertion of strength. The molars are broad-topped and furnished at the top with enamel folds to prevent waste caused by their side motion, but not pointed for chewing flesh.
In omnivorous animals, such as bears, on the other hand, the incisors resemble those of the herbivorous, the canines are like those of the carnivorous, and the molars are both pointed and broad-topped to serve a twofold purpose.

Now if we observe the formation of the teeth in man we find that they do not resemble those of the carnivorous, neither do they resemble the herbivorous or the omnivorous. They do resemble, exactly, those of the frugivorous animals. The reasonable inference, therefore, is that man is a fruit-eating animal. (publisher’s note*: (Fruit comprises any part of plant life useful to man. The fruitarian diet referred by Sri Yukteswarji includes vegetables, nuts, and grains.)

Observation of the digestive canal.
*-*-*-*-*

By observation of the digestive canal we find that the bowels of carnivorous animals are 3 to 5 times the length of their body, measuring from the mouth to the anus; and their stomach is almost spherical. The bowels of the herbivorous are 20 to 28 times the length of their body and their stomach is more extended and of compound built. But the bowels of the frugivorous animals are 10 to 12 times the length of their body; their stomach is somewhat broader than that of carnivorous and has a continuation in the duodenum serving the purpose of a second stomach.

This is exactly the formation we find in human beings, though anatomy says that the human bowels are 3 to 5 times the length of man’s body – making a mistake by measuring the body from the crown to the sole, instead of from mouth to anus. Thus we can again draw the inference that ma is, in all probability, a frugivorous animal.
Observation of the organs of sense.

By observation of the natural tendency of the organs of the sense – the guideposts for determining what is nutritious – by which all animals are directed to their food, we find that when the carnivorous animals finds prey, he becomes so much delighted that his eyes begin to sparkle; he boldly seizes the prey and greedily laps the jetting blood.

On the contrary, the herbivorous animals refuses even his natural food, leaving it untouched, if it is sprinkled with a little blood. His senses of smell and sight lead him to select grasses and other herbs for his food, which he tastes with delight. Similarly with the frugivorous animals, we find that their senses always direct them to fruits of the trees and field.

In men of all races we find that their senses of smell, sound, and sight never lead them to slaughter animals; on the contrary they cannot even bear the sight of such killings. Slaughterhouses are always recommended to be removed far from the towns; men often pass strict ordinances forbidding the uncovered transportations of flesh meats. Can flesh then be considered the natural food for man, when both his eyes and his nose are so much against it, unless deceived by flavors of spices, salt and sugar?

On the other hand, how delightful do we find the fragrance of fruits, the very sight of which makes the mouth water! It may also be noticed that various grains and roots possess an agreeable odor and taste, thought faint, even when unprepared. Thus, again, we are led to infer from these observations that man was intended to be a frugivorous animal*.

(*”And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearind seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” – Genesis 1:29. Publisher’s note).

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