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It’s nearly impossible these days not to find an eatery offering a plant-based alternative to traditional beef burgers (yes, pun intended). The Impossible Burger’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years—so much so that its manufacturer is having trouble keeping up with the demand.
Impossible Foods, the California-based company that makes the burgers, said it would increase production of the meat-like patties to ensure that chains like White Castle, as well as mom-and-pop restaurants, could sell them to the hungry masses, according to The New York Times.
With this entire meatless meat craze going full steam ahead, we wondered if it’s a good idea to be eating so much of this bleeds-like-beef burger. Besides being a good plant-based alternative, is it also a healthier one?
Maryann Walsh, R.D., a Florida-based registered dietitian with a master’s degree in food and nutrition, said the Impossible patties are pretty much on par with a beef burger, broadly speaking. “Impossible burgers certainly have a great vitamin and mineral profile and a 4-oz. patty is comparable fat and calorie-wise to a beef burger,” Walsh said.
But for those looking to lower their cholesterol, the Impossible burger would be the better pick. “The benefit of eating these burgers over an average beef burger would be that it has no cholesterol, as cholesterol is only found in foods derived from animals,” Walsh said.
Another benefit is that the Impossible burgers put less of a strain on the planet. The production of Impossible Burgers requires 87 percent less water and produces 89 percent less greenhouse gases—which contribute to climate change—than beef patties, according to Swiss consulting firm Quantis. Additionally, it saves land for animal and nature habitats, sparing 96 percent more compared to the production of beef.
Those sticking to a certain trendy diet, though, may want to stay away from it. One Impossible Burger has six grams of net carbs (nine total and three grams of fiber), with soy and potato proteins added in.
“This wouldn’t be ideal for a keto ‘purist,’” Walsh said, “but for those following keto who want a plant-based option and are a bit lenient with their carb allowance/source of carbs, this could certainly fit into a keto meal plan.”
Anyone following the paleo or Whole30 plans is also advised to stay away from the Impossible patty due to its soy content. However, it could work on most low-fat diet plans. “For someone on a low-fat diet, these burgers could fit in overall fat intake for the day, but these can’t carry the FDA regulated claim of being low-fat as they have 14g of fat per serving,” Walsh said.
Of course, if you’re following a plant-based diet, the Impossible Burger is the way to go, but for everyone else, Walsh said, a regular beef burger is just as good. Regardless of your patty choice, she warns to be careful of what toppings, condiments, and other add-ons you put on the burger.