Not long ago, my younger sister suggested I do a review on Burger King’s vegetarian Impossible Whopper. I normally never eat fast foods and would have no reason to enter a fast food restaurant unless I was on the go and would not be able to eat for several hours. But, it is always good to know where one can go and still have a healthier choice of foods than the typical burger and fry meals served at almost all fast food establishments.I have not had a reason, nor opportunity since her suggestion to review the Impossible Whopper, but last Saturday I was excited to see my local Dillons grocery store is now selling the Impossible Burger. I bought a package for a review and found myself quite pleased with the product.
As you can see, the Impossible Burger almost looks like actual meat, and, I noticed this product did not have the faint smell of dog food as a couple other veggie burgers I have tried.
Hmm, vegetarian burgers that bleed as you cook them… This blood is what gives the Impossible Burger it’s meaty flavor. However, it is not truly blood of course. What this blood is, is Soy leghemoglobin which is short for legume hemoglobin — the hemoglobin found in soy, a leguminous plant. Leghemoglobin is a protein found in plants that carries heme, an iron-containing molecule that is essential for life. Heme is found in every living being — both plants and animals. (Heme in animals is carried by “hemoglobin” and “myoglobin” among other proteins.)
Out of all the fake meats I have sampled for reviews, the Impossible Burger truly is more meat like than I ever thought possible. In fact, I believe that once the burgers are dressed on a bun, most people would never know the difference between these and actual ground beef. The taste and texture are similar enough to the real thing that if someone said something about the taste, it could be played off on how you had seasoned the burgers before cooking. I’m not suggesting you fib about these burgers, I am just trying to illustrate a point to how much they do in fact resemble actual ground beef burgers. I will say, this carnivore likes these veggie burgers and will buy them for a little something different in the future.
From Impossible Burger Website:
Impossible Burger is made from proteins, flavors, fats, and binders. The key difference from your average beef burger? Our ingredients are derived from plants. Here’s an overview:
- Protein from soy and potatoes
- Flavor from heme (the molecule that makes meat taste, well, meaty)
- Fat from coconut and sunflower oils make it sizzle on the griddle
- Binders, methylcellulose and food starch, hold it together so you can make anything you want — meatballs, kebabs, patties, and more.
Want the details? Here’s the ingredient list:
Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% Or Less Of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols (Antioxidant), Soy Protein Isolate, Vitamins and Minerals (Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12).
The Impossible Burger comes in at 240 calories which is about 49 calories less than an equivalent 4 oz 80/20 ground beef patty. Nutritionally, these burgers have somewhat of an edge over their meat counter parts since they also contain 3 grams of fiber and 19 grams of protein which is the same as ground beef. Impossible Burgers contain soy protein concentrate, which is a good source of fiber, as well as folate, copper, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, potassium, phosphorus, and iron, but most importantly, it’s the only commonly consumed plant protein that’s comparable in quality to animal protein. Soy protein carries a full complement of all nine essential amino acids which our bodies can only receive from the foods we consume.
Protein quality is typically defined in terms of protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS), which is a measure of its essential amino acid composition and digestibility. Higher PDCAAS means higher quality, with 1.00 being the highest score possible. Soy protein concentrate has a published PDCAAS of 0.95. For reference, conventional ground beef from cows has a published PDCAAS of 0.92. Soy protein’s high PDCAAS means you get plenty of nutritional bang for your buck with the Impossible Burger– a 4oz. serving has 31% of the daily value (DV) for protein. Comparing the DVs for different proteins is a better way of comparing two products than grams of protein alone. Two foods may have the same amount of protein per serving, but very different DVs because of differences in their PDCAAS.
The Impossible Burgers are going to cost you about $7.00 US for a package of 2 burgers. While this is more expensive than ground beef, it is still less expensive than going out to buy a hamburger anywhere you could go anyhow. Sometimes you just have to ask yourself how much is too much for healthy foods, and why? You could spend this much or more on a single serving of ice cream at your local Dairy Queen.
My bottom line is that while I do enjoy these vegetarian products, I am not going to give up my meats anytime soon. I enjoy a good steak on occasion and there is no good reason for me to not indulge in this delicious source of protein. Going vegetarian or vegan is a personal choice, but one thing I can promise you is – if you go vegetarian or vegan, this in itself does not in any way mean that you are also going to lose any weight. I have encountered several overweight and obese vegans over the years. No matter what you choose to eat, you must make wise decisions in the foods you consume. Moderation is still key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight no matter what you are eating on a daily basis.