Impossible Burger vs. Beyond Burger: Which Is Better?
They're designed to taste, look, and feel like meat-based burgers but contain no meat, eggs, dairy, or other animal-derived ingredients.
At first glance, these two burgers are similar, leading some to wonder if one is better than the other.
This article compares the Impossible and Beyond Burgers to help you determine which to choose.
Similar Nutrition Profile
The Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger have similar nutrition profiles. Each 4-ounce (113-gram) serving provides around:
Both are rich in protein, providing close to the same amount you would get from a 4-ounce (113-gram) beef patty.
Whereas the Impossible Burger is slightly lower in calories and fat, the Beyond Burger contains fewer carbs. Both have similar amounts of sodium and provide around 25% of the Daily Value (DV) of iron.
In addition, the Impossible Burger is fortified with additional vitamins and minerals, making it slightly higher in zinc, phosphorus, certain B vitamins, and vitamins C and E.
Both burgers have a similar nutrition profile but their source of protein and main ingredients vary, making the Impossible Burger slightly richer in certain vitamins and minerals.
Both are Suitable for Special Diets
Both the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger can suit various dietary needs.
For instance, both burgers are halal- and kosher-certified, in addition to being gluten-, peanut-, and tree-nut-free. The Beyond Burger is also soy- and GMO-free.
Moreover, both burgers are made exclusively from plant-based ingredients. They contain no meat or animal byproducts, such as dairy or eggs, making them suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets.
That said, some vegetarians and vegans prefer the Beyond Burger, as PETA noted that the Impossible Burger used animal testing to evaluate the safety of soy leghemoglobin — the main ingredient used to give the Impossible Burger a meat-like flavor.
Both burgers are halal- and kosher-certified and free of gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, and all animal products. The Beyond Burger is also soy- and GMO-free. This makes both burgers suitable for a variety of diets.
Both are Convenient to Use in a Variety of Recipes
Both products are a versatile and convenient replacement for ground meat.
They hold their shape well during cooking, are easy to prepare, and even release a red fluid similar to what you see if cooking meat. This meat-like texture and feel differentiate them from other plant-based burgers currently available.
The Beyond Burger comes as a pre-shaped patty while the Impossible Burger is sold as plant-based grounds that can be formed into the shape and size of your choice.
That said, the company behind the Beyond Burger also manufactures Beyond Beef — a package of plant-based ground meat that can be used in the same way as the Impossible Burger grounds.
This makes both burgers a handy meat replacement for a variety of recipes beyond just burgers, from lasagna and bolognese sauce to gyros and skewers.
The Impossible and Beyond Burgers have a similar texture and meat-like feel. They're both simple to cook and can easily replace red meat in countless recipes beyond just burgers.
Both are Processed Foods
Many people view the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger as healthier alternatives to meat-based burgers.
That's in large part because plant-based diets have been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. However, it's important to note that not all plant-based foods are equally beneficial.
For instance, heavily processed, sugar- and salt-laden meat alternatives are not as conducive to optimal health as whole-food-based, minimally processed options.
These ingredients contain significantly lower amounts of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds than unprocessed plant-based burger ingredients like whole beans, lentils, or peas.
Because of this, both burgers are likely best enjoyed in moderation.
Both the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger are made from processed ingredients. Thus, they contain fewer vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds than burgers made from whole foods.
Where to Buy Them
The Impossible Burger can be found in the meat aisle of select grocery stores in the United States, including Gelson's Markets in Southern California, select Fairway Market locations in New York, and certain Wegmans throughout the United States.
It's also available at Burger King and several other restaurants in the United States, China, and Singapore but can be difficult to find in other countries.
On the other hand, the Beyond Burger is more readily accessible both in U.S. and international grocery stores and restaurants.
It's currently available in several supermarkets, including Safeway, Target, Walmart, Wegmans, and Whole Foods. You can also order it at a range of independent restaurants, as well as chains like Denny's and Subway.
Between the two, the Beyond Burger is the only one currently available for purchase online.
Both burgers are sold in select restaurants and supermarkets, though the Beyond Burger remains more widely available in the United States, internationally, and online.
The Bottom Line
The Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger are two plant-based alternatives to meat burgers.
Both are certified kosher and halal and can be used in a variety of recipes. They're also free of gluten, peanuts, and tree nuts, which makes them versatile meat-free options for people with special dietary requirements or for those who follow vegetarian or vegan diets.
Overall, their nutrient content and versatility are similar. The main differentiating factor is the source of protein. Nonetheless, it's important to note that both are made with processed ingredients, including salt, sugar, and protein isolates, and are best enjoyed in moderation.
Therefore, unless you're trying to avoid soy or peas, simply follow your taste buds when picking a favorite between the two.
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From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.
When Looking Through a Microscope Isn’t Close Enough.<p>For the last few years, <a href="http://www.rokaslab.org/" target="_blank">our team at Vanderbilt University</a>, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/lab/Gustavo-Goldman-Lab" target="_blank">Gustavo Goldman's team at São Paulo University in Brazil</a> and many other collaborators around the world have been collecting samples of fungi from patients infected with different species of <em>Aspergillus</em> molds. One of the species we are particularly interested in is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1006/rwgn.2001.0082" target="_blank"><em>Aspergillus nidulans</em>, a relatively common and generally harmless fungus</a>. Clinical laboratories typically identify the species of <em>Aspergillus</em> causing the infection by examining cultures of the fungi under the microscope. The problem with this approach is that very closely related species of <em>Aspergillus</em> tend to look very similar in their broad morphology or physical appearance when viewing them through a microscope.</p><p>Interested in examining the varying abilities of different <em>A. nidulans</em> strains to cause disease, we decided to analyze their total genetic content, or genomes. What we saw came as a total surprise. We had not collected <em>A. nidulans</em> but <em>Aspergillus latus</em>, a close relative of <em>A. nidulans</em> and, as we were to soon find out, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.04.071" target="_blank">a hybrid species that evolved through the fusion of the genomes</a> of two other <em>Aspergillus</em> species: <em>Aspergillus spinulosporus</em> and an unknown close relative of <em>Aspergillus quadrilineatus</em>. Thus, we realized not only that these patients harbored infections from an entirely different species than we thought they were, but also that this species was the first ever <em>Aspergillus</em> hybrid known to cause human infections.</p>
Several Different Fungal Hybrids Cause Human Disease.<p>Hybrid fungi that can cause infections in humans are well known to occur in several different lineages of single-celled fungi known as yeasts. Notable examples include multiple different species of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/yea.3242" target="_blank">yeast hybrids</a> that cause the human diseases <a href="https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/6218/cryptococcosis" target="_blank">cryptococcosis</a> and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/index.html" target="_blank">candidiasis</a>. Although pathogenic yeast hybrids are well known, our discovery that the <em>A. latus</em> pathogen is a hybrid is a first for molds that cause disease in humans.</p>
(Left) Candida yeasts live on parts of the human body. Imbalance of microbes on the body can allow these yeasts, some of which are hybrids, to grow and cause infection. (Right) Cryptococcus yeasts, including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008315" target="_blank">Why certain <em>Aspergillus</em> species are so deadly</a> while others are harmless remains unknown. This may in part be because <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fbr.2007.02.007" target="_blank">combinations of traits, rather than individual traits</a>, underlie organisms' ability to cause disease. So why then are hybrids frequently associated with human disease? Hybrids inherit genetic material from both parents, which may result in new combinations of traits. This may make them more similar to one parent in some of their characteristics, reflect both parents in others or may differ from both in the rest. It is precisely this mix and match of traits that hybrids have inherited from their parental species that <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/science/14creatures.html" target="_blank">facilitates their evolutionary success</a>, including their ability to cause disease.</p>
The Evolutionary Origin of an Aspergillus Hybrid.<p>Multiple evolutionary paths can lead to the emergence of hybrids. One path is through mating, just as the horse and donkey mate to create a mule. Another path is through the merging or fusion of genetic material from cells of different species.</p><p>It is this second path that appears to have been taken by our fungus. <em>A. latus</em> appears to have two of almost everything compared to its parental species: twice the genome size, twice the total number of genes and so on. But unlike other hybrids, which are often sterile like the mule, we found that <em>A. latus</em> is capable of reproducing both asexually and sexually.</p><p>But how distinct were the parents of <em>A. latus</em>? By comparing the parts contributed by each parent in the <em>A. latus</em> genome, we estimate that its parents are approximately 93% genetically similar, which is about as related as we humans are with lemurs. In other words, <em>A. latus</em>, an agent of infectious disease, is the fungal equivalent of a human-lemur hybrid.</p>
How A. Latus Differs From its Parents.<p>Elucidating the identity of closely related fungal pathogens and how they differ from each other in infection-relevant characteristics is a key step toward reducing the burden of fungal disease. For example, we found that <em>A. latus</em> was three times more resistant than <em>A. nidulans</em>, the species it was originally identified as using microscopy-based methods, to one of the most common antifungal drugs, <a href="https://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00520" target="_blank">caspofungin</a>. This result provides a clear example of the potential importance of accurate identification of the <em>Aspergillus</em> pathogen causing an infection.</p><p>We also examined how <em>A. latus</em> and <em>A. nidulans</em> interact with cells from our immune system. We found that immune cells were less efficient at combating <em>A. latus</em> compared to <em>A. nidulans</em>, suggesting the hybrid fungus may be trickier for our immune systems to identify and destroy.</p><p>In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our quest to understand <em>Aspergillus</em> pathogens is becoming more urgent. Growing evidence suggests that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/myc.13096" target="_blank">a fraction of COVID-19 patients are also infected with <em>Aspergillus</em>.</a> More worrying is that these <a href="https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2607.201603" target="_blank">secondary <em>Aspergillus</em> infections</a> can worsen the clinical outcomes for those infected with the novel coronavirus. That being said, we stress that little is known about <em>Aspergillus</em> infections in COVID-19 patients due to a lack of systematic testing, and none of the infections identified so far appear to have been caused by hybrids.</p><p>So, when it comes to hybrids, some are fantastic (the minotaur), some are helpful (the mule) and some are dangerous (<em>Aspergillus latus</em>). Understanding more about the biology of <em>Aspergillus latus</em> may help in our understanding of how microbial pathogens arise and how to best prevent and combat their infections.</p>
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