Impossible Burger Vs Real Meat: Which Is Healthier?

Impossible Burger Vs Real Meat: Which Is Healthier?
Photo: <a href="">Valeria</a>

We’re living in a golden age of fake burgers. The Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger both promise, and deliver, meaty flavours without the meat. But how do they compare to the nutrition of an actual piece of dead cow? Pretty closely, it turns out.

Let’s take a look at three patties: a 113g Impossible burger, a 113g Beyond burger, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s analysis of a typical beef patty, 113.40g pre-cooking weight, made of 85 per cent lean ground beef.

Calories: Impossible burger, 240. Beyond burger, 250. Beef burger, 192. (Before cooking, the beef burger contained 283 calories, so the exact calorie count depends on how much fat you allowed to melt off.)

Fat: Impossible burger, 14 grams. Beyond burger, 18 grams. Beef burger, 12 grams after cooking, down from 17 in the raw beef. Again, this may vary with your cooking style.

If you’re looking at saturated fat, the Impossible burger has 8 grams, the Beyond has 6, and the beef burger 5.

Carbs: The Impossible burger has 9 grams of carbs, of which 3 are fibre. The Beyond burger, 3 total carbs with 2 of them fibre. Beef, 0 carbs.

Protein: Impossible burger, 19 grams. Beyond burger, 20 grams. Beef burger, 20 grams.

Sodium: The fake burgers have more sodium (370 and 390 milligrams versus 55) but that’s because the fake ones have been seasoned, while the numbers for beef do not include seasoning.

In total, the fake meat mimics the real thing nutritionally as well as in taste. If you want to nitpick, the beef burger comes out slightly ahead – for fewer calories, it offers the same amount of protein and a little bit less fat.

So you’re not automatically eating healthier by choosing the fake meat, but if you prefer the plant-based burger for environmental or animal welfare reasons, you can do so knowing that you’re getting a similar dish nutritionally.

This story has been updated since its original publication.


  • What ever it takes to get the cows off the land. It seems none of the meat substitutes are much good. This one looked so promising too.

    Maybe we need a different approach, something like learning to eat plant based stuff without trying to sub out with things associated with dead animals. It can be hard to get a consistent satisfying taste with just plants as it requires more effort an imagination.

    But surely the ultimate driver here is global warming, with beef being the biggest contributor. And surely that is enough to force us to stop eating cows. But not from what I have seen. Every overly hot day, and every complaint about the drought points my finger directly at the beef eaters.

  • Because nothing bad ever came from eating highly processed food.

    There is no doubt we will eat less meat as the years go by, but those people advocating this as a solution are being highly disingenuous.

    • Yeah, i find it funny how people treat this as better and more natural yet its actually more processed than a normal meat hamburger.

      And we know how these types love to say “Processed” foods are bad for you.

  • We are looking at hamburgers here, 20 grams of protein. This is not meat, there is more protein in each bite of Beef Jerky that I’m chewing on right now. Compare this salty fake meat with a slow cooked 400g Rib Eye steak, or a 500g Kangaroo Fillet, or a whole Lamb Shank. It doesn’t take much to fake up a replica of processed fast food. Compare this stuff with real food and then get back to me.

  • Ok, so they aren’t as good as meat, the salt is the biggest problem for me. The fact is, we need to stop the waste and planet destroying methods of growing protein, vege burgers are a start. There are other ways too, insect protein is even cheaper to create and far less destructive to the worlds’ ecology. I’d eat it, so long as there are no Cockies in it… Errg!

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