"Beyond and Impossible meats are two different brands of plant-based meats that taste exactly like real meat—or close enough. The Impossible Burger even "bleeds" like meat, and is made mostly from soy, coconut oil, sunflower oil and natural flavors. Beyond Meat's key ingredients include water, pea protein, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil and rice protein." (Source: Is Impossible Meat Bad for You?)
|A less-meat-like meat substitute: veggie burgers.|
Not bad, just not like meat.
|One thing we try to give up: Fast Food like In-N-Out Burgers.|
Shown here with lemonade to share with Elizabeth's blog party.
Impossible Meat or Beyond Meat and Health
|Beyond Burgers on our grill, May, 2020.|
We decided to reduce our meat consumption two years ago.
The indisputable fact: Impossible Meat is ultra-processed. I've written about industrial food processing dozens of times, and generally explain why I avoid such products -- ultra-processing implies the use of numerous unfamiliar additives, and such foods couldn't be made in a home kitchen. This is all the more true of the lab-grown meat substitute, though the imitations are slightly lower in calories and much lower in fat content. I choose to eat Impossible meat occasionally, though, because the risk isn't high, and our avoidance of meat for ethical reasons is strong. I would especially be pleased if it was more commonly available at the fast-food places where I go when driving cross country!
"Impossible Meats have been fortified with vitamins and minerals and do contain some micronutrients, but the reality is that processed foods are not as nutritious as unprocessed foods." (Source: Is Impossible Meat Bad for You?)
A bit more on the question of eating ultra-processed meat substitutes:
"Critics of plant-based meat have also pointed out that it tends to be highly processed. No doubt, most plant-based meats are not health foods, due to their high saturated fat and salt (though beef and pork, too, are high in saturated fat). But “processed foods” is a vague and often ill-defined term that encompasses everything from high-fructose corn syrup to whole-grain pasta to yogurt, and has little bearing on foods’ environmental impact. As Vox’s Kelsey Piper has written, the term 'processed food' 'can obscure more than it clarifies' when it comes to the debate over plant-based meat." (Source: Yes, Plant-based meat is better for the planet)
I agree with the following statement from an article in Gizmodo:
"If you’re wanting a nutritious, heart-healthy meal, you can and should eat vegetables and whole grains and fruits and all the other stuff that everyone knows they should be eating.... The nutritional status of the Impossible Burger doesn’t matter, because, like a regular hamburger, it’s a treat. You shouldn’t eat an Impossible Burger every day, just like you shouldn’t eat a hamburger every day." (source: "Impossible Burgers Aren’t Healthy")
What these products are NOT: a more controversial type of imitation meat is not yet available: this extreme method employs cell cultures to grow meat and seafood in a lab (also to grow dairy products). These products are in development, but none of them is yet on the market, and the USDA is in process of considering how to regulate them to protect consumers and avoid misrepresentation of the product. (Cell-based meat and milk: wonders of modern food technology?)
The Health of the PlanetFirst, the claims for ecological responsibility: "Impossible Foods claims its soy-based burger uses 87 percent less water, takes 96 percent less land, and has 89 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions than a beef burger. Beyond Meat makes similar claims about its pea-based burgers."
Ethics: The Welfare of Meat-Packing Workers
|"How the Trump Administration Helped the Meatpacking|
Industry Block Pandemic Worker Protections," May 2020.
An official report on recent Congressional hearings by the
Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. (Online version here)
The major finding of this report:
"Last year, the Select Subcommittee found that during the first year of the pandemic, infections and deaths among workers for five of the largest meatpacking companies—Tyson Foods, Inc. (Tyson), JBS USA Holdings, Inc. (JBS), Smithfield Foods (Smithfield), Cargill, Inc. (Cargill), and National Beef Packing Company LLC (National Beef)—were significantly higher than previously estimated, with over 59,000 workers for these companies being infected with the coronavirus and at least 269 dying. Internal meatpacking industry documents reviewed by the Select Subcommittee now illustrate that despite awareness of the high risks of coronavirus spread in their plants, meatpacking companies engaged in a concerted effort with Trump Administration political officials to insulate themselves from coronavirus-related oversight, to force workers to continue working in dangerous conditions, and to shield themselves from legal liability for any resulting worker illness or death."