The veggie burger appears to have undergone a makeover. No longer will nut burgers, or even halloumi burgers do. Say what?! In America, a team of top scientists, farmers and chefs have created a ‘game changer of a burger’ that mimics the precise flavours, textures and aromas found in a normal beef burger. Their aim is to create a burger which makes the global food system more sustainable.
The company ‘Impossible Foods’ have developed a burger made from a blend of wheat, coconut oil and potatoes. Apparently, it is the specially modified heme (iron), which is present in plant foods and meat products, which is the “magic ingredient” that makes their burger a “carnivore’s dream”! In fact, the company claim that their specially developed heme is what makes the burger sizzle, ooze and bleed.
If you dislike the taste or texture of meat, this impossible burger is unlikely to appeal. However, the company are targeting those who are making the move towards a ‘flexitarian’ lifestyle; this is when people try to eat less meat and more plants. A recent survey showed this could include as many as one in three of us. If you’re interested in the health benefits of a ‘flexitarian diet’ read more here.
Verdict: There are many health benefits from plant-based diet, and any move towards sustainable food production is a good one. Impossible Burgers are indeed lower in cholesterol (read the nutritional profile here). They are also a rich source of some vitamins and minerals typically high in meat products (i.e. vitamin B12). This is because they fortify the burgers with additional nutrients to give it similar levels to those in meat products.
The UK government recently advised us to reduce our intake of processed and red meat since recent evidence has confirmed links between increased consumption and colon cancer. Some evidence suggests changes in the heme iron in red meat could lead to carcinogen production. The heme added to these burgers has been modified, and therefore research needs to be conducted before we know what effects this could have on our health in the long run.
WE REALLY WANT TO STRESS – although red meat has been classed as a class one carcinogen like tobacco, it is the amount of a substance that you’re exposed to which effects your risk. Enjoying red meat in moderation doesn’t put you at the same risk as smoking 20 cigarettes a day.
But if you’re picking this burger as a healthier alternative to meat, keep in mind that the saturated fat (the cholesterol-raising type of fat) content is 10g per burger (probably due to the coconut oil). Some lean beef burgers can be as low as 5g but they normally average around 8g of saturated fat.
Where can I find the impossible burger?
It’s all over America. This is set to be a big buck making business venture! Although the burger isn’t (yet) available in the UK, just this weekend, Waitrose announced that they have partnered up with a Dutch company specialising in meal alternatives and will be launching their own unique product line using a ‘new soya protein’ that mimics meat. Dishes will include vegan pulled pork, lasagne and Thai green curry.
So- the jury is out on this one. Would you try it?
Photo credit: https://www.impossiblefoods.com/