Impossible meat is a blend of high-protein vegetables and soybeans (the “blood” one sees after taking that first bite is actually beet juice). Not only is it a great menu option for vegetarians and vegans, but omnivores looking to cut down on red meat now have the choice of going meatless without miserably giving up the flavor of their favorite foods. It’s healthy living finally busting into the mainstream.
There’s also the matter of sustainability. Preachers of the impossible meat movement point to the alternate food’s beneficial impact on the environment. Business Wire reports that when compared with beef, impossible meat’s production requires 87 percent less water, contributes 96 percent less water contamination, and releases 89 percent less greenhouse gases. It’s a trend that’s gaining steam, and some express hopes it’ll catch on with younger generations.
“Being plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthier,” diet researcher Frank Hu tells The Harvard Gazette. He’s not the only one with this opinion—many impossible meat critics call out the large amount of fats and processed ingredients that go into the food. According to Men’s Journal, the Impossible Burger and its counterpart—the Beyond Burger—both contain five times as much sodium as an unseasoned beef patty. There’s also concern over the inclusion of soy leghemoglobin—an ingredient which people don’t normally ingest—in the product’s recipe.
Not to mention eating meat that’s technically “impossible” sounds a wee bit nefarious. Consuming something “genetically engineered” doesn’t sound very health conscious (and tempts many a “Soylent Green” comparison). Some also question the product’s sustainability: Soy is a monocrop that contributes to poor soil health and attracts pests. The jury is still out, as it’s too early to garner any concrete data on the matter.
In this episode of "Tell Me Everything," Registered Dietician Nutritionist Whitney Catalano explains what it means to build a healthy, sustainable relationship with food. Whether you love impossible meat or rare burgers, take a look at what Catalano has to say: