Canadian experts aren't sure Beyond Meat is healthier than beef (veggie style trends)


INTRO: Beyond Meat markets its plant-based burger as a healthier alternative to meat, which is associated with certain health risks. But some experts say the data doesn't exist yet to show that a processed plant-based patty trumps beef.

Canadians can't get enough of Beyond Meat's plant-based burger that's designed to taste just like beef. It has attracted not only vegetarians but also meat eaters such as Jim Allen, who recently dined on a Beyond Burger at A&W, believing it was the healthier choice. "I was quite eager to try it," said Allen, who lives in Toronto. "Everybody's saying get away from red meat and eat more plants."

Canada's new food guide advises Canadians to consume less meat and eat more healthy plant-based protein foods such as beans and lentils. But does Beyond's burger qualify as a healthy protein alternative? Beyond Meat says yes. On its website, the California-based company markets its plant-based products as "better for you" options that don't come with the major health risks associated with certain kinds of meat.

However, nutrition experts CBC News interviewed argue that there's no hard scientific data — at least not yet — to show that a processed plant-based patty trumps beef. "Where is their research saying that — that this is better than eating a small, portion-controlled, lean piece of meat?" said Toronto-based dietitian and nutritionist Rosie Schwartz.

The Beyond Burger contains close to 20 ingredients, including refined coconut oil, pea protein isolate and flavouring. Schwartz says that qualifies it as a highly processed food — something that Canadians are advised to limit in their diet, along with processed and fatty meat. "When Health Canada says we should be choosing more plant-based protein alternatives, I believe they're talking about whole foods. They're not talking about ultra-processed foods," said Schwartz. (MORE)
There's something mysterious about 'processing' food that makes it bad for you.
My best guess is that (in the case of 'processed' meat) the root problem is sodium nitrite which is routinely added to (UK) 'processed' meat for its antibiotic and cosmetic properties. It is possible (I'm guessing here) that routinely dosing yourself with an antibiotic may not be a very smart thing to do. That is without looking at endogenous nitrosation (wiki follows) which may or may not also be a bad thing to have going on inside you. In a litigious environment I can see that nobody is particularly keen to clarify what 'processing' actually means - but that's my take on it at this point in time.

wiki Wrote:Nitrate or nitrite (ingested) under conditions that result in endogenous nitrosation has been classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans" by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).[4][5]

Nitrite is an easy way to give a pink shade to processed meats. Nitrite reacts with the meat myoglobin to cause color changes, first converting to nitrosomyoglobin (bright red), then, on heating, to nitrosohemochrome (a pink pigment).[6]

According to the meat industry, nitrite is used to prevent botulism. Yet several large meat processors produce safe processed meats without relying on nitrite or nitrate.[7][8]

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