Have you seen the hype around all the new fake meat products—like the Impossible Whopper® at Burger King and the Beyond Sausage Sandwich® at Dunkin’ Donuts?
Not that I patronize these fast food establishments for more than coffee en route to somewhere else…but it’s hard to miss the marketing blitz.
Indeed, this trendy, ultra-processed, fake meat craze is all about marketing and money, not real science or nutrition. And the way I see it, there are three major problems with the entire movement toward plant-based fake meat…
1.) It’s based on a false premise
At the moment, there are two major players in the fake meat industry: Beyond Meat® (which makes the Dunkin’ sandwich) and Impossible Meat® (which makes the Burger King sandwich.) And their whole pitch is based on the premise that meat is bad for you and the planet.
But that’s simply not true.
On the contrary, the science shows that eating a balanced diet with unprocessed, natural meat, poultry, and seafood gives you healthy proteins, fats, and bioavailable minerals—which are much more difficult to get from any other sources.
Plus, as I’ve reported before, many older Americans don’t get enough protein to maintain muscle mass in the first place. And meat is the best source of complete proteins, plain and simple.
Most Americans are also deficient in various other minerals that come from meat, including calcium (which should never come from supplements), magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
And finally, when it comes to the health of the planet, there’s no evidence that raising free-range chickens and cattle (using sustainable grazing practices) is bad for the environment. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence to show these animals are good for the grasslands.
What’s really bad for the planet are the industrialized, agro-businesses that grow mass-produced, mono-cropped plants with artificial, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides—like the processed compost that goes into fake meats and most of the soybeans grown in this country, which have been genetically modified (GM) to withstand Roundup®. (Then, manufacturers use the GM soy to artificially boost protein in the processed, “plant-based,” fake meat products.)
Which brings me to my next point…
2.) Fake meat is just highly processed plant matter
There isn’t a shred of evidence that eating plant-based protein will benefit your health and/or nutritional status in any way. On the other hand, there are plenty of reasons to think it will harm your health. Consider this…
I always recommend eating whole foods with minimal processing. And make no mistake, these new fake meats are filled with highly processed, highly refined plant matter.
In fact, the plant matter that goes into fake meat is a lot like sugar and carbs—the original highly processed, refined plant matter. (Cane sugar is actually in the grass family.)
They’re both made from cheap, mass-produced plants that grow like weeds. Which, if nothing else, makes the industry extremely profitable. (No wonder the stock prices of the companies that make these fake meats have soared since last spring!)
Specifically, the Impossible Burger® gets its protein from processed, GM soy—which is a major health hazard in itself.
And the Beyond Burger® gets its 20 grams of protein from ground pea protein isolate, which is marginally better than soy. But it’s still an incomplete, processed protein.
Meanwhile, a grass-fed ground beef burger contains about the same amount of complete protein—plus natural essential animal fats and essential amino acids, which your body desperately needs to stay healthy.
3.) Too many harmful fillers
Fake meat manufacturers have to add a variety of harmful fillers like canola oil, coconut oil, lecithin, starch, and sodium to even make their phony products edible.
In fact, the alarmingly long list of added ingredients is reason enough to skip these fake meats altogether. (The Beyond Burger® has 18 different ingredients, and the Impossible Burger® has 21!)
As I always report, the longer the list of added ingredients, the more processed the food product. A real, unprocessed food should consist of ONE ingredient. That one ingredient makes it a food!
But during my latest trip to the grocery store, I looked at the labels on some of the packaged, processed breads of the shelf. And virtually every loaf had so many different ingredients that the list covered the entire back of the package—in tiny print!
So, here’s a tip for you…
If there’s more than one line of ingredients, don’t bother. Just put the item back on the shelf.
When you look at the ingredient list for the Beyond Burger®, the first ingredient listed is water. (Clearly, this profitable trick was borrowed from the soft drink industry, which sells water with sugar and a little flavor at a premium price. And the second ingredient in most soft drinks—sugar—is a metabolic poison that comes from another processed plant! Now that’s what I call a recipe made for profits—not for health.)
Well, I’ll give them this…
These manufacturers have certainly done their market research. Because they know some consumers will pay premium prices for these trendy, plant-based foods…even when they are in no way better for the planet or for your health.
So, the next time someone asks if you’ve tried one of the new, overpriced, processed fake meat burgers, just pull out the old one-liner from the 1980s Wendy’s commercials and ask, “Where’s the beef?” (As you may recall, presidential candidate Walter Mondale asked that same question of Gary Hart during the primaries in a 1984 democratic debate. Hugh Jackman portrays Hart in the recent movie called The Front Runner, which follows the candidate’s second failed presidential campaign.)
Instead, continue giving your body what it really wants and needs—real meat and full-fat dairy from organically raised, free-range, grass-fed cattle and poultry.
And if you still need help cutting through all the clutter, take a look at the September issue of my monthly newsletter, Insiders’ Cures (“Cage-free, grass-fed, organic…oh my!”) to help bring home the healthiest whole foods. Subscribers have access to all of my content in the archives. So if you haven’t already, click here to sign up today! I will also reveal more about what’s really behind the fake meat industry in a Dispatch next month.
“Beyond Burger.” Beyond Meat, 9/3/19. (beyondmeat.com/products/the-beyond-burger/)
Great Taste, Plant-Based: Dunkin’ Parters with Beyond Meat® to Introduce New Beyond Sausage® Breakfast Sandwich in Manhattan.” Dunkin’ Donuts, 7/27/19. (https://news.dunkindonuts.com/news/beyond-meat-dunkin)