Ryan Mandelbaum of gizmodo.com has put the plant-based food revolution into context. Sometimes it’s easy to get so tied up with the marketing and success of the ever-increasing plant-based meat substitutes that it can be hard to see the wood from the trees.
“Why is it suddenly a big deal that plant-based burgers, designed to mimic the flavour and texture of beef hamburgers while potentially being better for the planet, aren’t that healthy?” asks Mandelbaum.
The fact of the matter is that if you are looking to have a nutritious, healthy meal, one should be eating vegetables, whole grains, fruits, seeds and nuts.
It is, of course, perfectly possible for a vegetarian or a vegan to eat poor quality food all day long every day. The fact is that an Impossible Burger should be a treat, and not part of one’s daily food in-take – just like a hamburger is for a carnivore.
Sometimes we all eat a calorie busting meal that makes us suffer afterwards. It’s just the way so many of us are around food.
The whole point, argues Mandelbaum, is that the Impossible Burger is not necessarily healthier than a beef burger.
Eating the plant-based burger does support animal welfare and has more benign environmental consequences. It may not necessarily be significantly healthier than a, a beef burger – ignoring for the moment the overuse of antibiotics given to the livestock.
Plant-based diets can be healthier but are not innately healthier
Plant-based diets “can be healthier, but they are not innately healthier,” says Mandelbaum. “A conscious diet that includes a diverse array of vegetables and whole grains with some dairy, eggs, chicken, fish, and even the occasional hamburger, while generally minimizing added sugar and processed foods, is much healthier than a vegan diet of super-processed veggie burgers, Oreos, and french fries”.
This new food is simply attempting to recreate whatever Westerners are already eating. Personally, I don’t need to stock up with food that looks and feels like meat. I’m more than happy to have a cauliflower curry with brown rice and a broccoli salad but not everybody is. Just because we can now have food that mimics meat with a “bleeding sensation” does not mean that we have to eat it all the time.