Impossible Burger — Good Alternative?

My last blog post was in February…a long time ago! In the last five months, I completed my 1200 hours of supervised practice in my dietetic internship, studied like crazy for my registration exam, passed my exam, officially became a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), went on a week-long vacation in New York City, spent time with family, read books, caught up with friends, and obtained a job which I will be starting on Monday. :) Needless to say, it has been extremely busy, and the last five months have been a complete blur.

Today my husband and I went to Umami Burger in Palo Alto to try the Impossible Burger. Have you heard of it before? It’s a plant-based burger created right here in Silicon Valley.

Impossible Burger at Umami Palo Alto.

Taste, Texture, and Ingredients

At first glance, it looks like a regular burger with beef patties. Don’t be fooled, the burger is mostly composed of textured wheat protein, coconut oil, and potato protein. The texture and taste resembled beef. There were times I forgot I was eating a plant-based burger! Occasionally there was an off-taste that tasted like soy, but it did not bother me at all.

These vegan patties are known for having a bloody ooze like a beef patty. While animal proteins consist of myoglobin which gives it the red color, the “blood” from these veggie patties come from leghemoglobin, a heme found in plants that carries oxygen and nitrogen.

Other ingredients include water, yeast extract, salt, soy protein isolate, konjac gum, xanthan gum, thiamin, zinc, niacin, vitamin B6, riboflavin, and vitamin B12. Want to know what these ingredients are used for? I made a handy dandy table for you.


Source: https://www.impossiblefoods.com/images/faq/nutrition-facts.png

Nutrition

Put on your glasses, we’re about to get nerdy with nutrition. I mean, I am a Registered Dietitian after all. :D

This nutrition label is based on a 3-ounce patty. Thanks to the Impossible Burger being plant-based, we can automatically say good-bye to cholesterol (but, keep in mind, adding cheese will add some cholesterol to your meal). There is also a benefit of having more thiamin, B12, and folate than you would find in a regular beef patty.

I was surprised by the amount of saturated fat found in the Impossible Burger, but it is most likely coming from the coconut oil they put in their patties.

One disappointment I had was the lack of fiber which is naturally found in plants, not meats. The Impossible Burger has focused on extracting protein from wheat, soy, and potatoes which explains the whopping 20 grams of protein in their patty.

Overall, the Impossible Burger looked, tasted, and had the same texture as beef, which is very impressive! It may seem silly to eat something that resembles another food, so why do it? If you eat just a few burgers a year and eat mostly lean proteins with a healthy dose of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you probably don’t need to find a veggie-version for your patties. On the other hand, if you consume red meats regularly, you may be at risk for heart disease. Therefore, swapping out for a plant-based burger should be beneficial.

If you’re interested in eating plant-based burgers but don’t mind if it tastes like black beans or vegetables, switching to black bean or vegetable patties would most likely be a better alternative since they are higher in potassium and fiber and lower in saturated fats than the Impossible Burger.

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Jane Pelcher, RDN

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