Dr Oz: 100% Plant-Based Meatless Burger
Dr Oz shared videos of a delicious-looking burger sizzling on a hot grill as it was cooked to perfection, and explained that the burgers we were looking at actually had more protein than the last burger each of us ate. How can he be so sure? It turns out the burger in the videos we were watching were 100% plant-based and contained no meat at all. How is that possible? Naturally, Dr Oz just had to find out, which is why he sent award-winning food journalist Mark Schatzker to find out.
Dr Oz: The Impossible Burger & Beyond Meat Beyond Burger
Bland, soggy, mushy, and grainy are some of the words that have often been used to describe veggie burgers and other “alternative” meats. It seemed impossible to create a meatless burger that tastes like real meat. Well, Silicon Valley is proving that it wasn’t so impossible after all. Two new start-ups have seemingly created the impossible: meatless meat that tastes like meat. First is the Impossible Burger which is a veggie burger that actually bleeds. It turns out the burger is now so popular, it’s nearly impossible to actually get your hands on one.
Then there’s Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger which is already available in grocery stores. Mark was hoping to learn more, so he met Beyond Meat’s founder, Ethan Brown, at Whole Foods. Ethan explained that he wanted to change the protein at the center of the plate from animal protein to plant-based protein in order to solve some of the world’s biggest problems like human health and climate change.
Dr Oz: How Is Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger Made?
He had the idea to take plant-based ingredients and convert them into muscle through heating, cooling, and pressure, like the animal does in its digestive system. As Ethan explained, meat is basically amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals, and water. All of those things can be sourced outside the animal, which is what his company has done, and then brought them through a process that arranges them in the same “architecture” as muscle, therefore creating their product.
Ethan isn’t hoping to cut meat from American diets all-together, but instead encourage them to eat a different kind of meat. He believes he’s providing exactly that by giving consumers a product that is better for them, as well as better for the planet. But how does it actually taste? It was time for Mark to find out.
Dr Oz: Beyond Meat Beyond Burger Taste Test
Chef David Silver cooked both regular beef patties and Beyond Burgers for Mark, as well as two taste-testers he recruited. Those taste testers were New York chefs John Schafer, Executive Chef at New York Yankees Steakhouse, and Carolina Santos-Neves, Chef and Managing Partner at Comodo and Colonia Verde.
Visually, everyone agreed the Beyond Burger looks just like a burger. In terms of texture, the Beyond Burger was definitely unlike any veggie burger any of them had ever had before and it even had more of a crust than the beef burger. Chef John admitted that if he had to choose between a beef burger and the Beyond Burger, he would definitely go for the beef. However, both chefs agreed that if they were going for a veggie burger, they would choose the Beyond Burger over any others. It seems both chefs were certainly impressed. Chef Carolina added that the Beyond Burger has a certain umami flavor with some saltiness that truly impressed her.
Mark then chimed in saying he thought the first bite was nice and beefy, but as he continued eating it, it lost it’s sustain, whereas a beef burger was just right “from first bite to swallow.”
Dr Oz: How Plant-Based Meat Is Made
So how exactly does the Beyond Burger go “from pea to patty?” As Dr Oz explained, the peas are picked and then the protein, fat, and fiber are separated out. The protein powder is then run through an extruder machine where heat is applied as well as cool air and pressure. Essentially, the protein bonds are broken down and then stitched back together as meat. Then what comes out resembles meat off the bone. The rest of the process is similar to how we process meat in general. Flavorings are added, things like yeast extract, moisture is added, then fat like coconut or canola oil are added. It’s then shaped into a patty that looks and tastes like a beef burger.
Plant-based alternatives are a huge trend right now, but meat seems to be new to the game.
Dr Oz: Beyond Burger Nutrition VS Beef Patty
Mark then explained that most of the meat we eat is industrially produced, which can be problematic. It’s not the healthiest meat nor is it the most environmentally sustainable. That’s why alternatives are popping up. Mark claimed that compared to other imitation meat burgers he’s had in his lifetime, the Beyond Burger “blows them out of the water.”
Dr Oz wanted to compare the Beyond Burger nutritionally, to a traditional meat burger to see how it would stack up. The Beyond Burger had more protein and iron, and less saturated fat, cholesterol (none, in fact!), and total fat, but the differences weren’t huge. Mark believes the two are more similar than they are different. However, the Beyond Burger is plant-based, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, GMO-free, soy-free, and gluten-free. While the traditional beef burger has potential antibiotics, hormones, and GMOs.
Dr Oz: What’s In A Plant-Based Beyond Burger?
The one problem many people may have is the Beyond Burger’s ingredient list. Dr Oz always promotes choosing food with as little ingredients as possible, but the Beyond Burger has a long list of ingredients. Mark pointed out that usually, the problem with processed foods isn’t what’s in the foods, but actually what’s not in the food. The first ingredient in a Beyond Burger is pea protein isolate. Mark pointed out that when you remove the protein from a pea, you leave behind some of the pea’s most helpful properties like antioxidants and fiber.
He wanted to make it clear that by eating a plant-based burger, you’re probably not getting your vegetables. It’s not the same as eating your veggies. Mark also added that often, the problem isn’t with the food, but with us. They may use a plant-based burger as permission to indulge and pile on unhealthy toppings or pair it with unhealthy sides.