Plant based meat is offering vegetarian diets more options
If it looks like a burger, cooks like a burger and even tastes like a burger, it must be a burger, right? Well, not anymore. A new wave of plant based burgers are helping to supplement a vegetarian diet.
“Burgers,” made with plant-based ingredients instead of animal meat, have become a hot item in grocery stores and even fast food chains. The Impossible Burger, adapted by Burger King as a new Whopper patty, is an example of the alternatives out there. For those on a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, it serves as on option to sink their teeth into a something that has a taste and texture more like a hamburger.
Maria Thouron, Grocery Manager at Bread Root Cooperative, says, “I don’t know that there’s anything specifically more healthy about plant-based meats, it’s more of a plant-based diet in general because you’re eating more vegetables, more whole grains you’re going to be consuming healthier calories – more nutrients things like that. And plant-based meats allowed you to have a Fourth of July cookout with your friends without feeling the need to ditch your diet.”
Health experts don’t necessarily recommend that these plant-based meat alternatives become a regular addition to your weekly menu.
Rose Donnelly, Registered Dietitian at Regional Health Sports Performance Institute powered by EXOS, says, “A lot of these plant-based alternatives are using things like coconut oil and cocoa butter things like that- that do have saturated fat, but what you do find is that the plant-based alternative have more fiber in them. And generally because you’re more processed you’re going to have more sodium, you need to make them preserve and shelf stable … but you will lower your cholesterol and probably are saturated fat as well.”
Rose also points out there isn’t a hard-line conclusion that plant based meats are healthier, but at the very least, choosing it over a ground beef burger would help you decrease your red-meat intake.
Donnelly says, “They’re doing great things with food science into making these plant-based alternatives taste a lot closer to the originals. And then you would find if you were to go and get, you know, a black bean patty … but now you have an opportunity to really kind of get in there and have something that takes a little bit more like that product that you really want.”
As far as price point, the specialty burgers will cost more than beef.
Rose also adds that when opting for plant-based options, shoppers should choose products with organic ingredients or reach for a veggie burger made from whole foods, without the highly processed components.