By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
May 15, 2019
Last month there was a lot of hoopla about Burger King’s latest fare: The Impossible Whopper.
The big news? Burger King started testing these plant-based burgers at certain locations in the St. Louis area. And since it was well received, they’ll start rolling them out nationally.
As far as I was concerned, this was “non-news”… just another way for a fast food chain to make their food sound healthier than it really is. Other chains like White Castle and Wahlburgers have already done it.
So imagine my surprise when I went out to eat at a relatively upscale Italian restaurant last weekend and came face-to-face with a menu that included… yes! An Impossible Burger.
It was the very first main dish listed, described as 100% vegan (even though it’s topped with mozzarella) and goes for $23.
I soon discovered there are several other quality restaurants down here in South Florida who sell these burgers (or their meatball equivalent). And they are even more widespread in metropolitan hotspots around the country.
I don’t know why I find this so shocking, but I do. Most likely because when a fast food joint puts fake, healthy-sounding food on the menu everyone pretty much knows there is a catch.
But when you place a vegan burger on a menu at a moderately high classed restaurant, you expect it to be a truly healthy alternative.
This being said, I think it’s time to shed some light on the why the Impossible Burger is an impossibly ridiculous idea.
Is this a Veggie Burger or a Science Project?
The first question you probably have is “What’s in an Impossible Burger?”
According to the Impossible Foods website, the makers of this fake meat, it contains:
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, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.
I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound the least bit appealing to me. Why would anyone want to eat it – even if it does look and taste like a real burger?
And it certainly has questionable health benefits.
Strike #1: While Americans seem to think that anything with the word “soy” in it is healthy, there couldn’t be anything further from the truth. Soy protein concentrate and soy protein isolate are nothing like the healthy, fermented soy foods Japan and other Asian countries are so well-known for.
While extracting these concentrates and isolates, they are exposed to extremely high temperatures that taint the molecular structure of the soy. As a result, the end product is loaded with toxic compounds.
Soy is extremely high amounts of something we call “anti-nutrients.” These are toxins that literally block the absorption of critical nutrients. It’s high in phytoestrogens linked to the feminization of men and increased breast tissue density in women. Plus, it can wreak havoc on thyroid function.
When you see either of them on the label, it’s a sure sign that all of the nutritional value associated with soy is missing. (And if you look hard, you’ll notice that both of these soy by-products appear on almost all processed food labels!)
Strike #2: It’s also important to note that more than 90% of U.S. soy crops are genetically altered to be “Roundup Ready”.
This means farmers can douse them with liberal doses of Roundup weed killer without killing the crops.
The main ingredient in Round-up, glyphosate, is a poisonous chemical that kills your good gut bacteria, affects your liver’s CYP 450 detoxification enzyme system, and damages your DNA. It promotes the development of cancer and acts as a hormone disruptor in human cells. And every time you eat an Impossible Burger, you’re probably getting a hefty dose of it.
Strike #3: Do you know what soy leghemoglobin is? In short, it’s the stuff found in Impossible Burger that gives it a meat-like flavor and makes it “bleed” just like red meat.
But what do we know about it?
Well, we know that the soy leghemoglobin in Impossible Burgers isn’t the real deal. It’s DNA taken from soy plants and inserted into genetically engineered yeast.
We also know that, in addition to soy leghemoglobin, this genetically engineered yeast produces 46 more engineered proteins… many which are unidentified. And none of them have been assessed for safety.
This makes everyone who eats an Impossible Burger a guinea pig in this nationwide science project. That’s a pretty scary thought, isn’t it?
I could go on and on, but you get the point…
If you want a burger, have a burger. Preferably one made with grass fed beef or buffalo.
Just don’t go overboard. Your daily intake of animal proteins should only account for 15% or less of your diet. The remainder should be filled with fresh, organic and REAL plant foods… not ones that resemble a science project.
Patisaul HB, et al. The pros and cons of phytoestrogens. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2010 Oct; 31(4): 400–419.
Swanson, N, et al. Genetically engineered crops, glyphosate and the deterioration of health in the United States of America. Journal of Organic Systems, 9(2), 2014 ORIGINAL PAPER.
Samsel A, et al. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013 Dec;6(4):159-184.
Koller VJ, et al. “Cytotoxic and DNA-damaging properties of glyphosate and Roundup in human-derived buccal epithelial cells.” Arch Toxicol. 2012 May;86(5):805-13.
Gasnier C. et al. “Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines.” Toxicology. (2009) 262: 184–191.
From Lab to Fork. ©Copyright June 2018 by Friends of the Earth U.S.