What The White Stuff On Plant-Based Burgers Actually Is

There are so many different plant-based burgers on the grocery shelves it may be difficult to decide which to pick. In general, people either want a burger that closely mimics beef or something with the texture and grilling features of beef without the taste. No matter which side you're on, you've probably noticed that many famous burger varieties like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat contain white flecks.

Beyond Meat's homepage states, "The white specks are similar to marbling that you see on traditional beef burgers, but ours are made from coconut oil and cocoa butter. These plant-based fats provide melty, mouthwatering marbling to the Beyond Burger, creating a juicy texture similar to beef." Impossible Foods has fewer white spots, but their website explains that the fat in their burgers is a mix of coconut and sunflower oils.

The plant fats make the burger taste meatier and juicier and add to the feeling that you're actually cooking a beef burger on a grill. While this might make the burgers taste better, it also means a Beyond Burger contains 25% of your daily saturated fat, while an Impossible burger provides 30%. 

Impossible and Beyond Meat have little else in common

The white flecks of plant fat may make your Impossible and Beyond Burger sizzle and brown in a way that's similar to a beef patty, but that's where the similarities end. The Beyond Burger gets its proteins from legumes like split pea protein extract (pea protein), mung beans, and brown rice proteins. Unlike many other meat alternatives, Beyond Burger is soy-free.

On the other hand, the Impossible burger embraces its soy roots. "We use American-grown, milled, and processed soy in our products because it's an excellent source of high-quality protein with a long-established history of safe use in food," Impossible Foods states in "Debunking Common Myths About Soy Protein" on its website. "Soy plays a huge role in giving Impossible Burger and Impossible Sausage their meaty texture, excellent nutrition, and culinary versatility — everything you'd want to see in meat made from plants." Despite evidence of soy's benefits and the countless articles disputing that soy causes cancer, thyroid problems, or hormonal issues, these myths persist.

While those plant fat specks help make them taste delicious, they're also a reminder that Impossible and Beyond Burgers still contain saturated fat. They may be slightly healthier options than beef, but they should still be eaten in moderation.