The Problem with Veggie Burgers

  February 27, 2014  |    Blog>Nutrition & Weight Loss

As seen on February 27th, 2013 on:


written by The Nutrition Twins,


Whether people are choosing to eat less meat to be healthier or for ethical reasons, going vegetarian seems to be hotter than ever. So you’d expect that we’d tell you to eat veggie burgers. After all, you can prepare them in minutes, and they have far less calories, fat and saturated fat than hamburgers. So why would we tell you to kick veggie burgers to the curb?

It has to do with one of their main ingredients, soy protein isolate. There are two types of soy: Whole soy, which is found in protein-packed edamame and soy nuts, and soy protein isolate, the highly refined, nutrient-stripped product added to faux meats to boost protein content. If the soy protein isolates are not organic—and 95 percent of the soy consumed in the U.S. is not—they contain controversial and potentially damaging genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Some research links GMOs to health problems, such as reproductive issues and an increased risk of cancer. However, what we find to be most disturbing is that the majority of commercial GMOs have been created to withstand herbicides or produce insecticides. This means farmers are able to spray toxic herbicides liberally, increasing herbicide residues found in soybeans.

Without getting too technical, just know that it’s best to stay away from processed soy as your vegetarian protein choice, although choosing organic options are better. The great news is that you can observe Meatless Monday with easy alternatives. Here are a few of our faves:

Bean burrito: Fill a whole wheat tortilla (120 calories or less) with kidney or black beans, brown rice, tomatoes and salsa. (Fat free refried beans work great too, as does tossing in any of your favorite veggies)

Mexican Style Mix: This is one of our favorite quickies to make. Combine:

  • ½ cup corn (we use an organic frozen one that we thaw in the fridge)
  • ½ cup black beans
  • 3 diced black olives
  • 1 ounce chopped avocado
  • Chopped tomato, lettuce, jicama and any veggies of your choice
  • Drizzled with juice of a lime
  • Salsa, to taste

Easy Pasta Primavera: Mix whole grain pasta with peas, chopped carrots, cauliflower, and grated parmesan. Add the chopped carrots and cauliflower to the pasta as it’s cooking when about five minutes remain. Then add frozen peas for the last two minutes of cooking. Sprinkle with grated parmesan at the end. A cup of peas contains 8 grams of protein and 10 g of fibers, but, as a protein-rich alternative to green peas, you could add garbanzo beans to your pasta after it’s cooked.

More meatless options:

  • Split pea soup
  • Bean chili
  • Black bean burgers
  • Lentil Soup
  • Hummus, almond and arugula sandwich

Edamame Hummus

For more nutrition guidance and a ‘get healthy’ plan, please check out the “The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure

Published on Fitbie on February 27, 2013


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