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LMU 144 – Navigating the Meat Dilemma: Beef Patty vs. Planet-Friendly Alternatives


LMU 144 – Navigating the Meat Dilemma: Beef Patty vs. Planet-Friendly Alternatives

Source: Medium: Fueled by Science

Lifestyle Medicine Update (September 20, 2019)


In the realm of culinary choices, the debate between traditional beef patties and plant-based alternatives like the Beyond Meat patties has sparked a revolution. This discussion extends beyond nutritional values; it encapsulates the broader impacts on the environment, greenhouse gas emissions, resource consumption, and animal welfare. Today, we delve into the comparative facts that unfold this intriguing narrative, shedding light on a spectrum of perspectives that guide our dietary decisions.

Unveiling the Environmental Conundrum

To set the stage, consider the staggering fact that our planet hosts a staggering 1.5 billion cows. Among the many ecological consequences, methane emissions from cows contribute to a colossal 7 gigatons of greenhouse gases each year. This astonishing number surpasses the greenhouse emissions generated by all global transportation systems combined, including road, air, rail, and maritime vehicles. Surprisingly, livestock, particularly cows, account for as much or even more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s cars, planes, trains, and ships combined—a revelation that underscores the ecological toll of conventional meat consumption.

Resource Efficiency: Beyond Meat Takes the Lead

Delving into resource consumption, a stark comparison emerges between the production of a quarter-pound beef patty and the creation of a Beyond Meat burger. Crafting the Beyond Meat patty requires a mere 1% of the water, 7% of the land, and generates 10% of the greenhouse gases that are needed for a traditional red meat patty. This efficient utilization of resources exemplifies the potential of plant-based alternatives to mitigate environmental strains.

Nutritional Perspectives: Beyond Meat Unveiled

Shifting the focus to nutritional values, a Beyond Meat Burger offers a composition distinct from traditional beef patties. The Beyond Meat patty, gluten-free and GMO-free, is primarily crafted from water, pea protein—a notable protein source—canola oil—rich in monounsaturated fat—and coconut oil. While the Beyond Meat patty matches the beef patty in terms of total protein content—20 grams—it significantly outperforms beef in fiber content. While beef patties lack fiber entirely, the Beyond Meat alternative provides 3 grams of fiber. Additionally, while the Beyond Meat burger contains 300 mg more sodium than its beef counterpart, this increment is well within safe daily sodium consumption limits. Most individuals can comfortably consume between 2,000 to 3,000 mg of sodium per day, and a Beyond Meat patty contains 380 mg.

Unravelling the Fat Dilemma: A Look at Saturated Fat

A critical point of differentiation surfaces in the realm of fat content, particularly saturated fat. A Beyond Meat patty contains 20 grams of total fat, slightly surpassing the 18 grams in a beef patty. However, the standout disparity emerges in saturated fat content—5 grams in the Beyond Meat patty versus 8 grams in the beef patty. Although some of the saturated fats in the Beyond Meat patty are medium-chained fatty acids that don’t elevate cholesterol levels, most are long-chain fatty acids that do influence blood cholesterol. This saturated fat concentration is a pivotal consideration, as high saturated fat content is a common concern in beef products and now also warrants attention in Beyond Meat alternatives. Recent studies have shown that coconut oil consumption, prominent in Beyond Meat patties, can increase total cholesterol and bad LDL-cholesterol levels.

Exploring Better Alternatives: Yves Gluten-Free Veggie Burgers

In the realm of meat alternatives, not all options present the same saturated fat challenge. Take Yves Gluten-Free Veggie Burgers, for instance. With just 6 grams of fat and 0.5 grams of saturated fat, these plant-based alternatives provide 13 grams of protein and a mere 140 total calories. This offering represents a healthier alternative for those preparing meals at home. Yves also offers a range of meat alternatives, including veggie hot dogs, versatile options for use in various dishes, veggie breakfast sausages, and deli slices. These alternatives stand out for their low fat and saturated fat content, making them an appealing option for health-conscious consumers.

Vitamins and Minerals: Navigating Plant-Based Nutrition

It’s important to note that while plant-based meat alternatives might lack certain nutrients found in meat products, fulfilling daily vitamin and mineral requirements is achievable without consuming red meat. The absence of vitamin B12 and the relatively low iron content in plant-based alternatives can be compensated through other dietary sources and supplements.

A Holistic Perspective: Beyond Meat and Sustainable Choices

In summation, the discourse between beef patties and Beyond Meat alternatives encompasses multifaceted considerations. While both options hold shared concerns regarding saturated fat, Beyond Meat presents a promising avenue for environmental conservation. Opting for plant-based alternatives that are low in fat and saturated fat, such as Yves Gluten-Free Veggie Burgers, showcases a proactive approach to health. These choices not only contribute to cholesterol reduction but also extend their positive impact to greenhouse gas reduction, preservation of vital resources, and enhanced animal welfare—a holistic approach that reverberates beyond individual plate choices.


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Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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