There are many reasons people have for not eating meat, either becoming a full-blown vegan or the variations along the way, like a pescatarian, eating only fish as your protein. The most recent statistics show that 3.2 percent of U.S. adults, 7.3 million, refer to themselves as ‘vegetarians.’ Of that number, approximately 1 million consume no animal products at all, including dairy. If you make the choice to follow a meatless diet later in life, after having tasted a good ol’ hamburger, in the past your meatless choices included black bean burgers or some other plant-based concoction. Today, two of the most popular faux meat choices are Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat, each available at chain restaurants as well as your local grocery store.
Burger to Burger: Where’s the Beef?
With the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat burger, there’s definitely NO meat in either one, but what are the ingredients in the “burgers”?
The first ingredient in the Impossible Burger is water, followed by soy protein concentrate. In and of themselves, soybeans are perfectly healthy, but soy protein concentrate is heavily processed, which means many of the benefits of the raw food are lost. When you process soybeans, you lose a great deal of calcium, vitamin C and vitamin B-6, but Impossible Burgers are fortified with vitamins and minerals to make up for the lost nutrients during processing.
When you consider ingredients, both burgers are pretty similar, the exception being the main protein source. Beyond Burger uses pea protein instead of soy protein, and there’s no soy leghemoglobin, the key ingredient that makes the burger, as it’s cooking, to ‘bleed’ like a regular burger. A bit graphic, but you get the picture. The Beyond Burger’s red color comes from beet extract, rather than heme from the leghemoglobin, like with the Impossible Burger.
Are the Burgers Vegan?
Yes indeed, both the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat burger are vegan – neither contains any animal products or by-products. The Impossible Burger is also certified as kosher; Beyond Burger doesn’t specify if it is kosher or not.
Is One Healthier Than the Other?
When you look at both burgers, you have to understand that both are created in a lab, made only from plant products, designed to emulate the taste and texture of real beef.
A few things could influence your choice between the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger:
*The Impossible Burger consists of mostly organic ingredients, the Beyond Burger does not.
*The Beyond Burger is strictly non-GMO, whereas the Impossible Burger has GMO ingredients.
*The Impossible Burger is fortified with more vitamins and minerals.
Both burgers are just under 300 calories with about 20 grams of protein. The Beyond Burger has 20 grams of fat compared to Impossible Burger’s 14.
A Burger is All About the Taste
Reviews online have both burgers so close to the real deal that they have ‘grossed out’ vegetarians. Both look like a real hamburger, from the outside and inside. Both burgers resemble regular hamburger more than traditional vegetarian burger choices like Boca Burgers and Morning Star Farms Black Bean Burgers. Beyond Meat, the company that makes Beyond Burger, also has a meat crumble, which can be used in tacos or chili, as well as plant-based bratwurst sausage and Italian sausage. Both burgers are available at national chains, but you have to ask which burger is used at your individual restaurants. Information is available online for each burger by doing a search for your local retailers on the company websites.
As a pescatarian myself, it is great to have another option when I go to a cookout. I have tried both and really like them from taste, texture, and resemblance to real meat. In the past at cookouts, I have made a meal off of the side dishes, always feeling a bit on the outskirts of the party. With these two great options, you can grab a burger out with friends or join in with the next block party!