Should we give up beef burgers and switch to eating Impossible?

Impossible Burgers are coming to three chain grocery stores, and currently are on the menu at 17,000 restaurants nationwide.

Veggie burgers have been made from various combinations of beans and lentils, and are generally considered healthy, and eaten for that reason. The Impossible Burger is a highly processed blend of soy and potato protein that utilizes GMO soy and saturated oils.

It’s meant to appeal to meat eaters, not necessarily the health-focused vegan.

But it’s also marketed to consumers who want to address climate change in their daily choices. Livestock is a contributor to greenhouse gases, and–coupled with a global expected increase in food–there has been a focus on alternative sources of protein as well as more environmentally sound agricultural practices.

Meatless meat is everywhere, it’s expensive and people are flying in from London to have a taste.

No thanks, Impossible Burgers. We need the MEAT.

Impossible Burgers are not all that healthy

Impossible Beef Beef
Calories: 240 Calories: 210
Total Fat: 14g Total Fat: 14g
Saturated Fat: 8g Saturated Fat: 6g
Cholesterol: 0mg Cholesterol: 70mg
Sodium: 370mg Sodium: 90mg
Total Carbohydrates: 9g Total Carbohydrates: 9g
Dietary Fiber: 3g Dietary Fiber: 0g
Total Sugars: <1g Total Sugars: 0g
Protein: 19g Protein: 20g
Calcium: 15% DV Calcium: 0% DV
Potassium: 15% DV Potassium: 9% DV

A Impossible Burger and a beef burger have about the same amount of calories, but the meatless version has a little less protein — 19 grams versus 20 grams.

The Impossible Burger is 2 grams higher in saturated fat, probably from the coconut oil that’s added to help char the outside when it cooks.

The Impossible Burger has a lot more sodium as well.

they cost A LOT

A quick check shows the Impossible Burger coming in at around $9 a pound, while I can buy ground beef for about $4 a pound.

Impossible Burger, according to a taste test by Tim

Tim’s biggest complaint: he claims to have eaten an Impossible Burger and been hungry an hour later, possibly due to the lower protein count.

eat chicken instead

Animal-based foods have a bigger carbon footprint than plant-based foods. But not all animal based foods are the same.

Pounds of CO2e per Serving

production

Impossible Burgers are kinda like Teslas: they’re super expensive, kinda trendy, and haven’t always kept up with demand. They’ve partnered with OSI Group in order to help with production but they have a long way to go before prices can come down.

Impossible Burgers are here to stay.

another way to feed the world

Global consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs is expected to double by 2050, especially in developing countries where the consumption is pretty low right now.

no cruelty, no hormones, no antibiotics, no deforestation

Plants don’t feel pain, need injections, or use Brazilian rain forests for grazing.

FDA approval of key ingredient

The FDA approved the ingredient that gives the telltale “bleed” to the Impossible Burger, which allows the product to be sold in stores as well.

environmental benefit

Remember, greenhouse gases include:

  • carbon dioxide (burning fossil fuels)
  • methane (from agriculture, mostly from livestock)
  • nitrous oxide (some from making fertilizer)
  • fluorinated gases (chlorofluorocarbons, like refrigerants)

Agriculture contributes about 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and livestock accounts for two-thirds of that, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

One way livestock contributes to greenhouse gases by burping and farting methane into the air. Since the concentration of methane in the atmosphere has more than doubled since the Industrial Revolution, and methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, cattle-raising practices are under scrutiny.

for example, methane levels can vary based on farming methods

Methane levels in cattle farming can be affected by giving the cattle grain instead of grass feeding, because grass feeding produces more methane.

But, the grains that are used to feed cattle are grown with nitrogen fertilizer, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

And, when cattle are left to graze in pastures throughout their life cycle (grass fed), using rotating pastures in which the animals don’t eat grasses down to the ground, and the grasses are left to regenerate, and manure is left to decompose, and hooves push the manure into the soil, the soil can actually trap carbon–making it a carbon-neutral life cycle.

NOTE:

The beef industry–even using the most methane-producing, fertilizer-using, greenhouse gas generating practices, still only contribute a much smaller percentage to global warming than the use of fossil fuels.

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