We really must talk about meat, or for our purposes here today, meat substitutes. We’re big fans of animal protein in our human diets because these types of proteins are complete and relatively easy for our human digestive systems to use effectively. However, we’re also fans of those vegetarians who are carefully selecting meals filled with foods that comprise complete proteins and plenty of great fiber and fats. It can be done! But there’s a habit in the food industry to create “vegetarian” versions of animal products for the vegetarian who just loves the taste of meat. Here, we urge caution. In particular, when it comes to the new “Impossible” and “Beyond” meat brand “foods”.
Friends, those products are not good for you or the environment. First of all, the main ingredient is leghemoglobin soy. Soy leghemoglobin is a brand new ingredient. It was created exclusively for the Impossible Burger to mimic the taste and texture of a traditional meat based burger. Humans had not eaten this genetically modified ingredient until food scientists at Impossible Burger created it.
From an internal FDA document: “The current arguments at hand, individually and collectively, were not enough to establish the safety of SLH for consumption,” an FDA memo said, referring to soy leghemoglobin, a protein found in soy roots that’s the basis for the burger’s meaty texture and flavor. Source
This method of producing SLH produces 40 yeast proteins in the burger. Though due to labeling standards, only yeast extract is required to be on the label. The FDA also noted that the company’s engineered yeast doesn’t just produce leghemoglobin—it also produces 40 other normally occurring yeast proteins that end up in the burger, which “raises further question on how the safety argument could be made based solely on SLH.” Source
There’s also textured wheat protein in there, which is a highly processed alternative to meat. And wheat is difficult, if not impossible, for many to digest and it often causes digestive issues. It’s inflammatory and causes serious damage to the gut lining. And there is nothing in wheat that cannot easily, more readily and more gently be obtained from healthier options.
Further, as soy is the main crop involved here, switching to this product or others like it in your foods means encouraging mono-cropping, specifically of GMO crops. We want you to eat a diverse, nutrient-dense, satisfying diet of real foods. We strongly suggest that if you’re avoiding animal products in your food for any reason, stick to real, locally and/or organically grown, in-season vegetables to avoid ingesting large amounts of toxins in your food! If you have questions about how to work the foods we recommend into your daily diet, call us! We’ll get you into a Nutritional Coaching program to help you make the development of a truly health-inducing diet that’s a habit for life.