• Dr Kendra Clifford ND

Beyond Meat - too good to be true?

Updated: Jul 6

Many restaurants and fast food chains, including A&W, Quesada, and Tim Hortons here in Canada, are jumping on the Beyond Meat bandwagon. This new 'meat' substitute claims to have the same texture, marbling, and flavour as 'animal' grown meat, while limiting the environmental and health consequences of traditional meat products. But what is in "Beyond Meat"?

Ingredients of Note:

- Pea Protein Isolate: a protein derived from dried peas, where the starch and fibre has been removed

-Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil: oil expelled from the canola seed by pressure

- Refined Coconut Oil: Made from dried coconuts (gets rid of the coconut flavour), filtered using calcareous clays (causing bleaching), heated to high temperatures (deodorizes and sanitizes)

- Natural Flavours: can mean anything where the starting point or key ingredient must be natural (meat, fruits, veggies, yeast, herbs, etc)

- Methylcellulose: a chemical compound derived from cellulose, often used as an emulsifier in processed foods (also used as a laxative, and in personal lubricants!)

Nutrition: Beyond Meat Burger vs Lean Ground Beef Burger

At first glance, the Beyond Meat burger looks like the better option: less calories, less fat, more fibre. But lets look deeper.

- Like many processed foods the Beyond Meat burger patty contains a large amount of sodium. High levels of dietary sodium can increase your risk of high blood pressure.

- Vitamins and minerals: the Beyond Meat burger contains very little nutritional value in terms of vitamins and minerals. While yes, it does contain approximately 25% of your daily iron, we can presume this is non-heme iron (plant based iron). Non-heme iron is not as readily absorbed by the body as heme iron. In comparison, the ground beef burger is a combination of heme and non-heme iron (9% daily value). The ground beef burger also contains cobalamin (vitamin B12), vitamin B6, and magnesium, none of which are found in the Beyond Meat burger

So the Beyond Meat burger may 'bleed when cut' due to the pomegranate and beet juice, and sizzle on the grill due to the coconut oil, the original is always best.

And if it's a veggie option you're looking for, try switching it up with a black bean burger, or a portobello mushroom burger made with whole ingredients rather than a processed veggie product.

What do you think?



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