You’re a connoisseur in alterna-burgers. Soy burgers. Veggie burgers. Quinoa burgers. Portabello mushroom burgers. Tofu burgers. How ‘bout a pea protein-based burger?
The latter stands out from the pack because it’s actually…exactly like meat, just "healthier" (or so they say). Oh hey, Beyond Burger 👋.
What is the Beyond Burger?
It may look like raw meat in the package, and cook up all juicy and red to "medium-rare" perfection, but this trendy burger is actually totally plant-based. The company says on their website that they wanted to make a burger that “looks, cooks, and tastes” like a beef burger but without the environmental and health probs that can come from red meat (greenhouse gas-emitting cow farts, saturated fat, the like). Thanks to beets, it even changes color as you cook it to mimic the bloodiness of beef.
Yet Beyond Burger ingredients prove it's not a true "veggie" burger
Yes, the Beyond Burger is a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly plant-based burger. But it's not made out of actual vegetables. The patties pack four main ingredients: water, pea protein isolate, canola oil, and refined coconut oil. These provide the protein, heft, and moisture/juiciness of the burger. Plus, they contain minimal amounts of other ingredients, like potato starch, natural flavor, yeast extract, and beet juice extract. You can catch the full list of ingredients here.
Beyond Burger nutrition: Pretty close to a beef burger
Per four-ounce uncooked Beyond Burger patty, you’ll get:
- Calories: 270
- Fat: 20 g (5 g sat fat)
- Sodium: 380 mg
- Carbohydrates: 5 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Sugars: 0 grams
- Protein: 20 grams
As for other highlights, the Beyond Burger packs in 30 percent of your daily iron quota and an impressive amount of phosphorus (which is found in your bones and teeth), along with some vitamin C.
Compare that to four ounces of raw beef (80 percent lean):
- Calories: 287
- Fat: 23 g (9 g sat fat)
- Sodium: 75 mg
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Sugars: 0 g
- Protein: 19 g
The downer: Fat and calorie-wise, the Beyond Burger is about on-par with a beef burger, says Dallas-based nutritionist Amy Goodson, R.D., C.S.S.D. And then there’s the fact that while it may have a good amount of protein (20 grams), it doesn’t exactly have vegetables (pea protein isolate def doesn’t count). So despite being a "veggie burger," it's not getting you any closer to your five to seven servings of vegetables a day, she says.
So if you’re turning to the Beyond Burger to save on fat or cals, you’ll be disappointed, Goodson says. But you can make or break the health of any burger by the friends you pair it with, she says: Choose avocado and mustard for toppings and slap it on a whole-grain bun.
According to Beyond Burger reviews, people are (mostly) into it
Listen, it could be the healthiest thing ever made, but if it tastes like warm cardboard, you're not eating it. Luckily, 74 percent of the Amazon reviews are five stars-pretty good! But 15 percent of people really hated it, awarding only one star. Some highlights and lowlights:
- "I haven't eaten meat for 15 years and these freaked me out at first but once I cooked them, I thoroughly enjoyed it," wrote one reviewer, who called it the "best" veggie burger. "Don't let the look of raw hamburger scare you off."
- "I love my meat medium rare, more rare than medium, I'm a meat lover, and I could definitely give up beef hamburgers for those," wrote one reviewer.
- In the "hell naw" camp: "Texture looked like real meat but the smell was so repugnant when I was cooking it that I had to force myself to eat it," wrote a reviewer. "It smelled and tasted like cat food. ...To make matters worse it left a weird aftertaste in my mouth. Yuck."
Well then. You’ll have to taste it for yourself.
Where to buy the Beyond Burger
You can actually find the Beyond Burger all over. Order it from select TGIFridays, Bareburger, and VeggieGrill locations. You can also buy it from Amazon Prime Fresh, Target, and Kroger to cook it yourself (Find a complete listing here.) Cook up a bunch at your next BBQ and see if your friends can tell the difference.
The bottom line: The Beyond Burger is a convincing vegetarian alternative to beef burgers...but it's no more nutritious than the real thing.
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