The Best Burger to Fit Your Needs
Real meat analogs otherwise known as imitation meat burgers are growing in interest for consumers. This is due to the increased awareness of health, personal beliefs, social causes, and environmental concerns. By definition, meat analogs are plant-based food products that are designed to mimic the appearance, flavor, and texture of meat products. While this has grown in popularity, other meat products such as turkey, beef, and vegetarian are still consumed in a typical Western diet.
As a consumer of burgers, you may be wondering which alternative provides the best nutrient value or in better words which gives me the “best bang for my buck”. In this blog, we wanted to break down the nutritional profile of these different types of burgers to help you decide which may be the best option for you.
This is just a selection of some of the most popular options found among the wide variety of burgers available in the market today. The nutritional qualities of each type of burger will vary along with the brand and even among different products offered by the same brand. The main nutritional aspects of burgers that have the greatest impact on health and watch for are total calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium, and protein content.
USDA Angus Beef Burger
Boca Original Extra Large
All American Veggie Burger
|Trident Alaska Salmon Burger||Don Lee Farms Organic Chipotle Black Bean Burger|
|Total Fat (g)||1.5||11||35||9||9||8|
|Saturated Fat (g)||0||3||15||2||1||1|
|Trans Fat (g)||0||0||?||0||0||0|
Table 1: Comparative Nutrition Profile of Traditional Animal- and Plant-Based Burgers
Analog Beef Burgers
Cargill Plant-Based Burger patties
|Beyond Burger Plant-Based Burger Patties||
MorningStar Farms Veggie Burger
|Total Fat (g)||17||14||9||14|
|Saturated Fat (g)||7||5||1||8|
|Trans Fat (g)||0||0||0||0|
Table 2: Comparative Nutrition Profile of Beef Analog Burgers
Overall, beef products are higher in fat and saturated fat. For better cardiovascular health, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting saturated fat to 10% of the daily calories and sodium to 2,300 mg a day.
The selected beef burger was the highest in calories, fat, and saturated fat among the products we compared, but was very low in sodium. Nutritionally speaking, turkey meat is a better option than beef due to its lower fat and saturated fat content and this is reflected in the final product, in which the beef burger is over three times higher in fat and five times higher in saturated fat. To make up for the loss of flavor due to the reduced fat, the turkey burger is significantly higher in sodium, which will be something that you will have to take into consideration when making a final decision.
Among the meat options, salmon burgers offer the best nutritional qualities with lower levels of fat, saturated fat, and an acceptable amount of sodium. Part of the fats in salmon burgers are heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which makes this option a solid contender.
Meat analog products, such as the Cargill Plant-Based and the Beyond Burger, still contain a fair amount of fat and saturated fat, whereas the options made with vegetables are lower in both fat and saturated fat. The Vegan Burger Veggie Six is particularly low in total fat and has no saturated fat. In our comparison, the beef burger fared fairly well when looking at sodium, which was not the case with the Boca Original Extra Large All American Veggie Burger, which showcases a whopping 860 mg!
The best burger option for you will be the one that answers your specific concerns. If you are just looking for a great-tasting burger, the answer is easy: just choose the one you like the best! If heart health is the main concern to you, choosing a burger option with lower saturated fat and sodium will be the way to go. If environmental concerns tip the scale for you, you may need to look among meat analog or vegetarian options.
Making your own burgers is also a great option that allows you to customize the flavor and nutritional profile of your burger by selecting higher quality ingredients, reducing the amount of salt, adding spices and seasonings, or choosing beef lower in fat. Whichever reason leads you to consider other burger options, we recommend doing your homework, starting by figuring out what it is that matters the most to you! And if you’d like to give a try to make your own burgers, check out the recipe links below for a few ideas!
Black Bean Burgers
Classic Beef Burgers