What Is The Beyond Burger And Is It Good For You?
It looks like beef. but it’s NOT.
You’re a connoisseur in alterna-burgers: soy burgers, veggie burgers, quinoa burgers—the list goes on and on. But how ‘bout a pea protein-based burger?
The latter stands out from the pack because it’s actually…exactly like meat, just “healthier”—at least that’s what Beyond Burger claims.
If you have yet to try this veg-friendly burger, now is the time to give it a go. The meat-substitute company hit the stock market this week—and, to celebrate, they’re offering free and discounted Beyond Burger products at food chains across the country Friday, as part of the first ever Beyond Day.
Here’s where you can score deals:
- Carl’s Junior: Free Beyond Famous Star with cheese along with a soft drink purchase (6 a.m. – close)
- Veggie Grill: Free VG Beyond Burger with a drink purchase (2 p.m. – 5 p.m.)
- Del Taco: Buy any menu item for a free Beyond Taco (all day)
- Bareburger: Buy a drink and a s >But if you want a little more info before taking a bite, I’ve got you covered.
What is the Beyond Burger, exactly?
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 problems that can come from red meat (greenhouse gas-emitting cow farts, saturated fat, the like). Thanks to beets as one of the ingredients, 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 is pretty close to a beef burger.
Per four-ounce uncooked Beyond Burger patty, you’ll get:
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.
The downer: Fat and calorie-wise, the Beyond Burger is about on-par with a beef burger, says Dallas-based nutritionist Amy Goodson, RD, CSSD. 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. Plus, 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.
How does it compare to the Impossible Burger?
You may have heard about another popular meat-alternative out there: Impossible Burger. This burger is designed to look, taste, and smell just like a standard beef burger. It even appears to “bleed” thanks to special ingredient soy leghemoglobin which is found naturally in the roots of soybean plants. Other than that, it’s main ingredients are pretty similar to the Beyond Burger: water, soy protein concentrate, coconut oil, sunflower oil, natural flavors.
And it’s nutrition breakdown is close, as well:
Similar to the Beyond Burger, Impossible Foods touts a number of benefits: it supports the health benefits of a plant-based diet, and it’s environmentally friendly. In fact, the company says, compared to cattle production, “the Impossible Burger uses 95 percent less land, 74 percent less water, and creates 87 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.”
So really, the biggest difference is Impossible uses soy, while Beyond does not. And Impossible Burgers contain slightly more fat and saturated fat, which isn’t great.
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.