As the plant-based trend picks up steam (and the Beyond Meat IPO outperforms), plenty of people are asking – is the Impossible Burger healthy?
tl;dr – no. Not in my opinion.
Take a look at their ingredients below:
The Impossible Burger ingredients are different: their most controversial ingredient is Soy Leghemoglobin. To make this ingredient, Impossible genetically engineers a yeast bacterium to produce a protein (soy leghemoglobin) that gives their burger more of a “meaty” taste.
The jury is out on how safe this ingredient is (Nassim Taleb notably has concerns on GMOs), but I’d consider myself skeptical.
In general, I think unwise to mess with the complex system of human biology by introducing large quantities of GMO ingredients.
My larger concern on both Beyond Meat and Impossible “burgers” is that – at the least – they are HIGHLY processed products with lots of ingredients that I don’t think lead to healthier humans: vegetable oils, soy, protein isolates, additives, all non-organic. They are not real foods.
Not only that, but I’m concerned any time I see a nutrient-dense food (like meat) being replaced by a highly processed variant. Historically, that hasn’t done good things for human health.
The human body is an incredibly complex system, about which we still know very little. Complexity research cautions against introducing new things into a complex + related system, because it can have unintended consequences.
All told, neither Impossible nor Beyond deliver on the health message they tout, and they’re not things I’d plan to incorporate into my diet.8