TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - A plant-based, vegan and vegetarian burger is making its way into the Magic Valley, a popular item across the nation. KMVT took a look into what its made of, and if it's actually healthy.
Impossible burger at Anchor Bistro (KMVT/Elenee Dao)
"It's interesting because it looks exactly like a burger would," said Michael Oliveira, a chef at Anchor Bistro & Sports Bar.
Oliveira is referring to the Impossible burger, a meat-free option to having a burger.
"It’s made from a few plant-based items," said Melissa Sleight, a lifestyle medicine and registered dietitian.
According to the Impossible website, their product contains soy, potato proteins, coconut and sunflower oils and heme, a molecule that is from the root of soy plants. They said it's a molecule that makes meat taste like meat.
"People are becoming more aware of dietary needs as far as gluten free, vegetarian, vegan and being more conscious of what they eat," said Chris Hengel, of why he decided to serve it at his restaurant Anchor.
He said he see's more and more people trying out the burger.
"We do offer salads and healthy stuff, but to actually eat a burger, is a lot different than having to eat a salad for every meal, for those people with those allergies," he said.
The price of the Impossible food is pricey, Hengel said.
"It’s pretty popular and in demand right now, so the price on it is a little bit higher compared to your $2.50 ground beef per pound and then it’s $10 per pound for the impossible meat," he said.
But is it actually a healthier option than meat?
"There's a lot of different ways you can define healthy. You have to look at a few different options. Are you wanting a burger as a special treat? Then maybe just go for the burger. Once in a while, it's not a problem. If you want to include more whole foods in your diet, and you want a plant-based option, I would say maybe this isn't the best choice," Sleight said. "Because there are 21 ingredients and most of them are not coming from whole foods. So, it’s really not a whole foods product, still very, very, processed."
Sleight said that many need to have more whole food items in our diet.
"That would include vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains. Legumes like beans, split peas, lentils and nuts and seeds at least half of our diet," she said.
However, Sleight said it is a good alternative to just a regular burger.
"I would say try it out. If you want to see what it’s like. I think it’s a nice option for people because we’ve never really had the options in mainstream places in Twin Falls... Give it a try and see what you think. It’s definitely not an unhealthy choice, but might be a nice trade off," she said.