What Is a Meat Alternative?
Meat alternatives such as The Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat are food products designed to mimic the nutritional profile, flavor, and texture of animal-based meat. They are also known colloquially as "fake meats."
Meat alternatives are held to the same standards as other food products when assessing Whole Life Challenge compliance.
While unique considerations allow some soy products to be included for vegetarians and vegans on some nutrition levels, most of the normal rules for each food list still apply, particularly when looking at highly processed ingredients like textured soy and wheat proteins.
The Ingredient List Is The Key
The ingredient list of any food compared to your WLC Food List will tell you what you need to know. Take, for example, the ingredients listed for The Impossible Burger:
Water, Textured Wheat Protein, Coconut Oil, Potato Protein, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Leghemoglobin (Soy), Yeast Extract, Salt, Konjac Gum, Xanthan Gum, Soy Protein Isolate, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Zinc, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12
Based on the presence of the highlighted ingredients, The Impossible Burger is non-compliant on Performance, Lifestyle, and Kickstart.
Beyond Meat took a pea-protein based approach, so remains compliant on Kickstart, in moderation. Here's the ingredient list for Beyond Meat. Note the presence of industrial seed oils and maltodextrin. These are common ingredients in highly processed foods.
Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Contains 2% or less of the following: Cellulose from Bamboo, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Maltodextrin, Yeast Extract, Salt, Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Dried Yeast, Gum Arabic, Citrus Extract (to protect quality), Ascorbic Acid (to maintain color), Beet Juice Extract (for color), Acetic Acid, Succinic Acid, Modified Food Starch, Annatto (for color).
Focus on Whole Foods
The simplest ingredient lists will almost always yield the best options for Whole Life Challenge compliance. While the old adage that, “if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t eat it,” may sound like an insult to our intelligence, that same adage can help us know that a whole food, like a steamed carrot or an apple, with one ingredient, is simply healthier than one produced in a lab from a dozen or more ingredients you can’t even buy in a supermarket. That applies to meat alternatives just as it does to Twinkies and Big Macs.