Even the most carnivorous eaters out there have found it impossible to avoid the Beyond Burger, whether at home or in their favorite eateries. But how is Beyond Burger made? What ingredients are used to create this meatless burger?
There are many reasons why one might eat the Beyond Burger, from being vegan to just being curious. But should health concerns be one of them? Some have claimed that the Beyond Burger, and other similar products, could be healthier than actual beef.
Registered dietitian and nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix, author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You From Label to Table, doesn’t put much stock in that claim. “I wouldn’t suggest you eat them every day, just as I wouldn’t suggest you have a regular beef burger every day.”
Taub-Dix also says people might be surprised at some of the ingredients in the Beyond Burger. Here, we break down the ingredients in the order in which they’re listed on the product label:
Pea Protein Isolate
- “It’s a decent protein to be added,” Taub-Dix says, “but it depends on what it’s being added to in most cases.”
Expeller-pressed canola oil
- Canola oil is one of the healthier vegetable oils out there, as it’s high in healthy fats and low in saturated fats.
Refined Coconut Oil
- “Some refined coconut oils can be very high in trans fats, which is the worst fats we could eat,” Taub-Dix says. Moreover, the smoke point of the oil is 350 degrees, much lower than most barbecues or commercial grills. “That could result in just a burnt flavor,” she says.
- Taub-Dix has no problems with this protein and says it’s a good source of amino acids.
- Natural flavors are flavors created in a laboratory, but unlike artificial flavors, they must be derived from animal or plant products. They have minimal nutritional impacts.
- Despite its name, this isn’t actual butter but a fat that comes from cocoa beans and is typically used in skin-care products. It contains some healthy and unhealthy fats, but in small servings it’s not bad for you. It is, however, calorically dense (120 calories per one tablespoon).
Mung Bean Protein
- Much like the other two proteins, this is fine and is a good source of aminos, Taub-Dix says.
- This chemical compound, derived from plant cell walls and vegetable fibers, is used as a thickener in vegetable and meat burgers. It also has another use—as a laxative. “If someone has upset bowels, eating methylcellulose could potentially further those problems,” Taub-Dix says.
- As its name implies, this is a starch taken from potatoes that’s used to thicken products. It’s been found to lower blood sugar and even ease digestion.
- An extract of polyphenols and chlorogenic acid, both found in apples, this is most commonly used in health foods and skin-care products. Studies have found it to be effective in preventing the spread of hydroxyl radical in the body, which, if left unchecked, could lead to cancer.
- A salt compound created in labs, potassium chloride has minimal nutritional impact.
Lemon Juice Concentrate
- This sunflower-based thickener could be harmful to people with bowel problems. Otherwise, it’s generally harmless.
Beet Juice Extract
- Burgers get their bloodlike color on the inside from this.