SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Over the past few months a number fast food chains have begun serving plant-based meat alternatives. Burger King, Carl’s Jr., and Del Taco are just a few offering options nationwide. Meanwhile McDonald’s is testing their version in Canada and Denny’s will be jumping on the trend in 2020. While they are taking over the market the question remains how healthy are these plant-based meat alternatives.
“So those are going to be a processed product so while they are plant-based option they are still gonna be higher in sodium and saturated fat and they’re about the same amount of calories as a regular burger,” said Mallory Doolan, registered dietitian with Sharp Chula Vista.
When we looked up the nutritional facts on the plant-based burgers we found that they had about the same amount of calories or even more in some cases.
We spoke with board certified clinical nutritionist David Getoff about what is actually in the plant-based burgers. He explained that they are either of pea or soy protein, some kind of wood pulp, vitamins, and heme. Heme is a molecule that is part of our hemoglobin that carries oxygen around the body. Heme is what gives the meat we eat it’s flavor. Scientist have been able to produce it and add it to the plant base in order to give it a meat flavor.
For many consumers the most important part might be how these plant-based burgers taste. We decided to put the Impossible Whopper and the Beyond Famous Star to the test and brought them to the newsroom to try.
“They say it’s impossible but they also say it’s impossible to. It’s flawless to me. I could eat this perfectly,” commented Brandon Stone.
Everyone at KUSI seemed to enjoy them both taste wise, but the healthiest option is to make them at home.
“If someone wants a meatless option put some naturally occurring things that you can buy at your local farmers market and health food store and make something at home.” Said Getoff.