In a fact, a 2017 study has concluded that a diet high in processed vegetarian foods could even increase the incidence of developing cardiovascular diseases by 32%. Hence, the same health benefits associated with a plant-based diet that we mentioned earlier would not apply to all meat-free foods.
Also, upon a closer look at the nutrition facts table of the Beyond the Meat burger , we see that it is quite high in saturated fats (5g per patty), which is surprisingly high for a plant-based food and ends up being quite comparable to the amount of saturated fats in a beef burger. This could be explained by the use of coconut oil (added to mimic beef fat), which is relatively high in saturated fats. Studies have demonstrated that this type of fat could increase the LDL cholesterol which is a contributing factor in the incidence of cardiovascular diseases
With 380 mg of sodium per burger, the Beyond the Meat is also quite high in salt. As a rule of thumb, a food with more that 15% of the daily recommended values for a nutrient is considered to be high in that same nutrient. In comparison to a regular beef patty, the sodium content could be much lower since you would be able to control the amount of added salt.
But there are still some positive aspects to the nutritional value of the vegan burger. For instance, it is a good source of proteins (very comparable to a beef patty) and provides also a high amount of iron. As opposed to a meat burger, the Beyond the Meat has a higher fibre content, which could contribute to intestinal and heart health.
Bottom line? We are not against a vegetarian diet and are not demonising the Beyond the Meat burger since it can prove to be a good back-up and a meat substitute to enjoy occasionally. However, the connotation that it is healthier than a regular meat patty and could ward off certain chronic illnesses just because it is a plant-based food is just an illusion. It is therefore important to be skeptical of food marketing in an attempt to make informed food choices.