Meatless Burgers

Of course they aren’t any healthier, but this article (as is generally the case) is malinformed on nutrition:

Part of the appeal for diners is that eating less red meat can cut the risk of heart disease and other health risks. But nutritionists and registered dietitians say ordering a meatless burger at a chain — especially one where you can get fries with it — might not be that much better for you. “Are they healthier as far as sodium, calories and fat content? Definitely not,” Sharon Zarabi, a registered dietitian and bariatric program director at Lenox Hill Hospital, told MarketWatch.

There is zero scientific evidence that red meat increases your risk of heart disease (or any other health risk). And there is nothing wrong with sodium, calories (per se) or fat (at least saturated fat, though transfats and seed oils are terrible, nutritionally).

“It’s almost the same amount of calories as the regular burger. The fat is slightly lower, but the saturated fat is still pretty high,” notes Zarabi of the saturated fat, which is almost the same exact amount in each. Consumers can expect to pay at least 10 cents more for the Impossible Whopper ($4.29), with prices varying by location. In the Bay Area, the meatless Whopper is selling for $6.19 before tax, compared to $4.89 for the original version. (Burger King did not respond to a request for comment.) Zarabi urges consumers to look at the weight in grams for each menu option. At White Castle, the Impossible Slider is 90 grams in weight, compared to the Original Slider, which is 55 grams. If you don’t look at the nutrition facts, it could easily seem like the Impossible Slider is worse for you, but they’re actually almost on par with each other. The Impossible Slider is 210 calories with 11 grams of fat, and 4 grams of saturated fat, compared to the Original Slider’s 140 calories with 7 grams of fat and 2.5 grams of saturated fat. The Impossible Slider costs $1.27 more. White Castle did not respond to a request for comment.

This is all junk science. Calories aren’t the issue, saturated fat isn’t the issue, weight in grams isn’t the issue. And sliders are terrible, regardless of what the patty is made of, because they’re mostly bread. But at least this nutritionist gets it right:

Dr. Lisa Young, a registered dietitian and author of “Finally Full, Finally Slim,” says meat alternatives become even more unhealthy when you factor in the bread, condiments and French fries that typically round out a fast food meal.

Not to mention the sugary soft drinks. There may be sound ethical reasons for being a vegan, but don’t delude yourself that it’s a healthy diet.

7 thoughts on “Meatless Burgers”

  1. From the narrow and selfish point of view of an individual steer, that may be true, but for the race of cattle. humans are the best thing that ever happened to them. They are to us as aphids to ants, protected from predation by a very dangerous protector. “Remember calves, all cows must die, but the race of cattle goes on. Far better to wind up a burger after a comfortable life, than to wander the wilderness and be eaten alive by wolves.”

  2. There may be sound ethical reasons for being a vegan,

    Not really when considering eating plants is murder. They feel pain, communicate, and show other signs of life but it is expressed in a way that is hard for humans to interpret. While we can see them, they exist in a reality that is closed off to our perceptions. It is only through study with instruments and processes that look at reality more objectively or even through the plants POV that we begin to understand them.

    Many Vegas and Vegetarians think they are morally motivated but it all falls apart with what is currently known about plants much less what will be learned in the future.

    1. So you’re saying that eating plants is like eating brain-injured paralyzed patients who are fully aware but can’t move? Ouch!

      1. Makes you look at that veggie platter in a whole new light, doesn’t it?

        Good thing I HATE carrots.

  3. As I commented over on Samizdata two weeks ago:

    It’s hard to go wrong by doing the exact opposite of the USDA recommendations:

    USDA: High carbohydrate, low fat, and most of that unsaturated.
    Healthy: Low carbohydrate, high fat, almost all saturated. Avoid seed oils.

    USDA: Avoid Cholesterol sources such as egg yolks.
    Healthy: Cholesterol intake does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Enjoy high cholesterol foods as you wish. Braaains!

    USDA: Low sodium to the point where deficiencies strike many.
    Healthy: Salt to taste, healthy kidneys can eliminate any excess, there is no CVD risk due to sodium.

    USDA: Measure and regulate serum LDL cholesterol levels with statins.
    Healthy: LDL has no predictive power for CVD. Statins cause harm and no good.

    USDA: Fruit juices are a healthy part of the “My Plate” regimen.
    Healthy: Fructose in all forms must have fiber with it to reduce absorption. It is almost as hepatoxic as ethanol.

    USDA: A calorie is a calorie is a calorie.
    Healthy: Added Sucrose (and particularly fructose) contributes to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and metabolic syndrome.

    USDA: Feedlot fattened beef is an economical and healthy food.
    Healthy: Only grass-fed beef with good Omega 3:Omega 6 balance should be eaten. Wild-caught fish vs farm-raised has the same issue.

    USDA: To lose weight you must consciously consume fewer calories.
    Healthy: LCHF diet induces satiety before excess calories are consumed, ensuring long term compliance. and successful fat loss.

    USDA/AMA/FDA: The cause of type 2 Diabetes is a mystery, and can only be treated, not cured, with medication.
    Healthy: Stop eating the goddamn carbs and diabetes will cure itself, except in end-stage patients.

    It’s almost as if they’ve been programming the proles to drop dead as soon as they retire and can draw benefits…

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