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Food fight: Plant-based burgers stir debate over claims of nutritional advantages versus beef

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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Plant-based burger makers say their products are better for the planet than beef. Whether they are better for consumers’ health is a different question.

Debate over the nutritional merits of patties made from soy, peas, coconut and other plants is growing as meatless products stampede into tens of thousands of supermarkets and restaurants, and their manufacturers rush to ramp up production.

Beyond Meat Inc. BYND -2.57% and Impossible Foods Inc. say their plant-based products contain less cholesterol and saturated fats than other meats. Some nutritionists point out that they contain almost as many calories and more sodium than beef and that they are highly processed.

“People assume that because it’s plant-based, it’s instantly healthy food,” said Desiree Nielsen, a dietitian who advises clients on eating and hosts a vegetarian cooking show on Amazon Prime. “That’s clearly not the case.”

Beef producers, fearful that plant-based products could cut into sales of traditional burgers and steaks, want to play up beef’s nutritional distinctions. Kenny Graner, a North Dakota cattle rancher and head of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, said the industry should launch a campaign similar to its “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” advertisements.

Read full, original article: Meatless Burgers Stoke Sales and Questions About Nutrition

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