Is Beyond Meat Healthier?

Do you eat healthily? If so, what is it that you do that makes your diet healthy?

For some people this could mean eating more fruits and vegetables. For others it could mean limiting processed foods, sugar, liquid calories or alcohol. Sometimes we can think of healthy eating as limiting snacking and low nutrition foods. Or it could be an effort to eat more protein,or breakfast. Maybe it’s an effort to eat more protein at breakfast.

This conversation could take on a number of different angles. And because it has to do with nutrition this can almost become a theology, or a religion, for some.

Consider the follow:

‘I believe in intermittent fasting’

or

‘I believe in eating low-fat’

These statements don’t reference the science or evidence from research. Instead nutritional lifestyles are based on a belief system which may or may not have the support of science.

Recently meatless products have appeared on the menus of fast food establishments. This will obviously appeal to the vegan and vegetarian crowds. Plus there will be some omnivores that will be curious to try a Beyond Meat burger.

My question would be why?

These burgers are marketed on the basis that it is important to reduce our consumption of red meat. And for those that are looking to be healthier but still satisfy their craving for a burger they can have the best of both worlds. Less red meat and a healthier alternative.

But is this the case?

Because there are, at minimum, two separate issues here.

A. The first is that eating less red meat is healthier for you. There may  be some truth to this but we’d need more details. Who is the individual we’re talking about? How old are they? How active are they? What are their goals? How much red meat do they already eat? What else do they eat? What is their current health status?

It’s kind of a loaded question isn’t it? Until we know more details it’s hard to say if it would be healthier to eat less red meat.

B. The second thing to consider is whether Beyond Meat is a healthier option. Whole foods are typically healthier than processed foods.  A Beyond Meat pattie has over twenty ingredients in it. Plus we are led to believe that a plant-based food item is healthier. Nobody would point to meatless french fries as health food. Lastly, an A&W Beyond Meat burger has over 1100 mg of sodium which is close to our daily limit.

Based on the degree of processing, number of ingredients and the high dose of sodium I’m not convinced a Beyond Meat burger is a healthier option.

And this brings us to the last issue of the whole marketing campaign. Eating less red meat is healthier for you. If someone is eating that much red meat than it is usually at the expense of other nutrients. We will be missing out certain nutrients that come from fruits and vegetables.

Is it the abstinence of red meat that leads to health benefits? Or is it eating more fruits and vegetables?

Without more details it’s hard to say how much less red meat would help? But eating more fruits and vegetables would help most people.

Going forward consider getting a meal through a window an infrequent treat. Don’t fall for the marketing hype and believe you can eat fake burgers whenever you like and reap all the benefits of a whole foods diet.

 

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