Another Version of the “Non-Meat” Burger: IncogMEATo
I recently posted about the two most popular “non-meat” burgers; the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger: https://www.vitasananutrition.com/post/impossible-burger-vs-beyond-burger-are-they-the-healthier-choice
Now I am seeing ads about the new Incogmeato burger. So how does this one stack up to the other two?
The Incogmeato burger is similar to the Impossible Burger in its ingredients and additives. Like the Impossible Burger, the primary source of protein is soy. Each burger is about 250 calories, which is slightly less than the Impossible Burger. It provides 21g of protein, which is higher than the Impossible Burger It is higher in total fat (18g vs 14g for the Impossible Burger), however lower in saturated fat (5g. vs. 8g. in the Impossible Burger). The Incogmeato Burger also provides 8g of fiber, whereas the Impossible Burger only provides 3g.
My biggest issue with the Incogmeato Burger are the ingredients which include: water, soy protein concentrate, canola oil, palm oil, methylcellulose (binder), natural flavors, dextrose, potato starch, salt, cultured dextrose for freshness, apple juice powder (color), yeast extract, corn starch, sunflower lecithin, vegetable juice and vegetable juice concentrate (color), citric acid, vitamin B1, vitamin B12, ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
As discussed in my previous post, the primary ingredient in both the Impossible Burger and the Incogmeato Burger is soy. There is a lot of controversy around soy. Some studies have shown that soy can be a healthy food, however it all depends on the type of soy. I tell my clients, if they are going to eat soy, to focus on the whole food versions of soy like edamame and fermented, organic soy like tempeh and miso. Unfortunately, the Incogmeato contains a highly processed type called soy protein concentrate. Processing the soy means that many of the highly nutritious and naturally occurring vitamins and minerals are lost. As you can see from the ingredient label, this product is fortified, meaning that these nutrients must be added back in (i.e. vitamin B1, B12, etc.)
Further, although the package states that this product contains non-GMO soy, its website indicates that this product contains GMO or genetically modified ingredients. There is not enough known about GMO ingredients to know for sure if they cause any long-term side effects. It is notable that there are a number of other countries have banned GMO foods. Nearly 19 European countries opted out of growing genetically modified crops within their territories starting back in 2015.
Part of the controversy around GMO crops, is that the seeds are genetically modified to make the plant resistant to pesticides and herbicides. This means that these poisonous substances can be liberally sprayed on the plants, to kill the weeds around them, without fear of killing the plant itself. These pesticides and herbicides leave residues called glyphosates on the plant, which have been linked to a number of health conditions including cancer. Even after processing these plants, the residues persist and can build up in your body if you eat them in large quantities.
Similar to the Impossible Burger, the Incogmeato Burger contains a number of artificial additives, flavorings and binders, which are necessary to recreate the look and taste of meat. Lastly, the Incogmeato Burger contains poor quality oils, whereas the Impossible Burger contained a much healthier coconut oil. The Incogmeato burger uses both palm and canola oil, which are both highly processed oils.
Palm oil is found in a number of foods and household items, as it is cheap to produce. However, the harvesting processing has had devastating effects on the environment, as well as many animal species, namely orangutans. A recent report showed that over 100,000 orangutans have been killed in Borneo in the last 16 years, mainly due to deforestation to make way for palm oil plantations, as well as poaching, as they eat the plants.
Canola oil, although touted as a healthy oil due to it containing Omega-3 fatty acids, is also highly processed and through the processing of the oil, much of the nutritional benefits are lost.
See my previous post on why canola oil is not the best source of Omega-3 fatty acids: https://www.vitasananutrition.com/post/canola-oil-heart-healthy-or-advertising-myth
In summary, similar to my thoughts on the Impossible Burger, although it touts itself as a plant-based, healthy alternative to meat, the Incogmeato Burger is highly processed, and in my opinion, contains some questionable ingredients.
All-in-all, given the choice of any of these so called “plant-based” burgers (although calling them “plant based” is a stretch in my opinion), I would say the Beyond Burger is a better option, however that does not mean I genuinely recommend it. For my clients who are meat eaters, I would recommend eating a real burger made from organic, grass fed beef on occasion rather than a processed “non-meat” burger. And for those people, who want a burger, but do not eat meat, I would suggest a plant-based burger either made from beans or real vegetables. I am a bit of a purest when it comes to food. I want the real, whole foods version of what I am eating, not an imposter food trying to be something it’s not.