FOX13 Investigates: Are plant-based burgers healthier?

FOX13 Investigates: Are plant-based burgers healthier?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — What are you making for dinner tonight?

Many people will try out those new plant based burgers and patties, believing they are a healthy option to real beef, but are those plant-based products healthier than the cow?

One health expert called the Impossible Burger a splurge and warned people not to believe that it is as healthy as you might think.

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Trolley Stop Market is known for its farm fresh comfort food.

Their beef burger has had competition over the years from it very own veggie burger.

Will Condon, the General Manager of Trolley Shop Market, told FOX13, “all folks come in and order the veggie burger. It is not a specific audience that comes in looking for it.”

“When I hear plant-based, the key word is based. It calls into question what plant-based really means,” said Condon.

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The new Impossible Whopper sold by Burger King has caught the public's attention through its ads. 
Susan Warner M.D., from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, is both a doctor and a nutritionist.

“They think it is healthier because it is plant based,” said Warner.

When FOX13 asked Warner if the Impossible Burger and products like it are healthier than beef she said, “that depends. It is healthier for the environment, but not necessarily for the person who consumes them.”

According to the Harvard Medical School review, the Impossible Burger and its plant-based peers have as many calories as a lean beef burger.

And while plant-based meats fat levels are more or less in line with real meat, the plant based meats have nearly five times as much sodium as the real thing.

Besides contributing to high blood pressure, too much sodium can lead to stroke and heart disease.  ​​​​​

“You can’t think you are living with a health halo and consider this a health food. It is still an indulgent food,” said Warner.

The people at Trolley Stop Market told FOX13 customers know what they are getting with them, a veggie burger minus the secret seasoning.

They are hoping that customers will use this new burger craze to consider what's on their plates.
"I hope it is not just a trend," said Condon.

The bottom line, meatless burgers are good for the plant, but not always good for your health.