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Beyond the Slogans

Your health is empowered by awareness.

By KJ AartilaPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 4 min read
Beyond the Slogans
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Beyond the Slogans

I rarely eat processed food, as when I look at the ingredients, I cannot decipher what’s in the food product. My theory is that if I don’t know what an ingredient is, I probably don’t want it in my body. If it looks interesting, I can look up the information and any potential benefits I may wish to consider.

Over the years of learning how to read labels, I have discovered a number of added ingredients to foods which are not necessary or beneficial, and may even be compromising to one’s health. I also like to control how much salt or sugar or any flavoring I wish to add to match my own individual tastes. I am frightened by the amount of sodium added to foods, as well as the addition of sugars and additives for color, flavor and shelf-life.

In my personal quest to improve my diet, and the good reviews I’ve heard from people who have tried Beyond Meat products as a healthier alternative to eating real meat, I decided to do a comparison of patties. I looked at the ingredients and nutritional breakdown of the Beyond Meat product vs. the beef alternative. I am most interested in Calories, Sodium, fats (especially saturated) and protein.

If you choose Beyond Meat products for the ethics of it, as in you don’t want to eat meat, then the benefit is obvious - it’s not meat! But if you choose Beyond Meat products primarily for the touted health benefits, well, then that’s where the information gets a little muddled.

If reducing cholesterol is your main concern, then the Beyond Meat patty wins hands down. If you consider other health concerns, it’s not so cut-and-dried.

Below, are the links I used to compare the two products. I used the four ounce patty size (or 113 grams) for each, since the Beyond Meat patty comes packaged in a pre-made single serving size.

Beyond Meat patty

Beef hamburger patty (make sure the measurement is set correctly)

As a health conscious eater trying to be aware of what I consume, my first concerns are Sodium, Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats as well as the Calories. I’m going to overlook the additives and preservatives. They greatly concern me, but that’d not what this article is about.

Let’s first look at overall calories.

Remember, this is just a smallish patty, not including a bun or any condiments or choices you make for your patty toppings, such as cheese, lettuce, tomato, bacon, chips, another patty, etc.

Beyond Meat patty= 230 Cals.

Beef Hamburger patty= 262.7 Cals.

Okay, the Beyond Meat patty wins out there.

Let’s look at Fats.

Specifically saturated (quite bad) and monounsaturated (the “healthier” fat).

Beyond Meat patty - Sat. Fat= 5 grams

Mono Fat= 6 grams

Beef hamburger patty - Sat. Fat= 6 grams

Mono. Fat 6.8 grams

Pretty comparable, although the beef patty slightly edges out the processed, plant based option in the “healthier” fat category, the Beyond Meat patty takes it for Saturated Fat.

Now a look at Carbohydrates.

Beyond Meat patty= 7 grams

Beef hamburger patty= 0 grams

Obviously, real meat wins out here. Plants have natural Carbs, meat does not.

I’m very interested in Protein.

Beyond Meat patty= 20 grams

Beef hamburger patty= 28 grams

The meat burger wins out in this category. Another consideration is that, yes, you can get the correct amount of protein in a plant-based diet, but the utilization of it depends on eating the correct combinations of foods. I can’t really tell from the make-up of the plant-based option if it’s providing any significant protein to the human body, or not. At least, I’m not educated enough to tell, but I would be skeptical.

The kicker is Sodium.

Beyond Meat patty= 390 milligrams

Beef hamburger patty= 89.3 milligrams

Really? Why? That much Sodium is added to the processed, plant-based burger to make it palatable. And most likely, as a preservative. 390 mg is a significant portion of the Recommended Daily Allowance for Sodium in the diet. And that’s only one plain four ounce patty. That’s a potential problem, since the typical American diet is already significantly high in Sodium.

I am not promoting either of these products as the “right” or “wrong” choice. I think it is up to each individual to make the choice that's best for them, considering their own health concerns. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not a one-size-fits-all strategy.

vegetarianproduct reviewhealthycuisine

About the Creator

KJ Aartila

A writer of words in northern WI with a small family and a large menagerie.

My Substack

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Comments (6)

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  • JBazabout a year ago

    I like this comparison, the Sodium content is the reason I have never tried a Beyond meat patty

  • Heather Hublerabout a year ago

    I really liked how you presented this and the information you included along with your own thoughts. I have bought just about every brand of plant-based product out there as it's been 4 years now that my husband has stopped eating meat (from an all meat diet his whole life). He (and I) are not fans of the Beyond Meat brand. I've found much better tasting products. I need to pay more attention to sodium on packaging though. Great work on this!

  • I too have noticed this! Long gone are the days were a vegetarian diet is a healthy diet especially if it involves meat alternatives. Excellent comparison and great article!

  • Gina C.about a year ago

    I learned from this! Great review. 🥰 I alternate between real meat burgers and beyond meat 😅

  • Cathy holmesabout a year ago

    Great, well researched article

  • Judey Kalchik about a year ago

    I appreciate this careful and considered review!

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