Meat-Eaters of Reddit Weigh In: If You’re Going to Skip Meat, Why Not Just Eat a Veggie Burger?
If you want an honest answer to anything, simply post about it on Reddit, and watch the comments fly.
Reddit recently moved up past Facebook to be the third-most-popular platform in the US, after Google and YouTube, in large part because people love to share their opinions about—everything. So, of course, when we were interested to see what meat-eaters thought of plant-based burgers we checked in with one of the forums.
These aren't comments from vegans or plant-based eaters, but of carnivores who shared their distaste of the latest generation of plant-based burgers. In a forum called "Meat Eaters of Reddit" we learned a lot, including the answer to the question: "What do you think of plant-based meat?"
We were prepared to hear all the negatives about plant-based meat. How it's not good for you. How it has too much sodium and full of chemicals. After all, everyone seems to have an opinion on this topic.
As for taste, people will continue to debate: Is Impossible or Beyond Meat better? Are veggie burgers better than plant-based meat? The questions are never-ending. What we found that surprised us most was the fact that there is plenty of love for good old-fashioned veggie burgers out there.
The most shocking thing may have been that there was a preponderance of comments about the fact that if you're not going to eat meat, then why give up the health benefits of a burger that tastes like, and is, made of veggies like mushrooms, lentils or beans? Instead of compromising taste (their words, not ours) and health, they came out on the side of either skipping the whole exercise (and sticking with meat) or choosing a veggie burger instead.
Veggie Burger or Plant-Based Burger?
To the question of "What do you think of plant-based burgers" the answers and comments started with:
"...It's alright. But it is not the real thing and I would much rather enjoy a vegetable dish that was never meant to have meat than to have a dish pretending to be mediocre meat."
Other meat-lovers would rather choose to eat veggie burgers because even though they don't taste like meat, they offer a healthier option than the ones that try to taste and look like meat.
"I think veggie burgers are delicious. I've come to the point where if they are available, that's what I choose."
The meat-lovers feel that though Veggie Burgers are a healthy alternative, they don't compare to real meat, saying, "that's not the same thing" and they prefer to just stick with their beef. Everything from taste to texture is different, making it hard to replace the main part of their diet with something that doesn't taste or look the same.
So Are These Plant-Based Meats Considered Healthy or Unhealthy?
The overwhelming opinion on the nutritional value of plant-based meat was that it isn't healthy. Many would rather just go for tofu, tempeh or seitan than faux meat. Another issue people found with plant-based meat was the amount of sodium it contains. Anyone prioritizing a low-salt diet said they would stay away from these faux meats that have "double or triple the amount" of regular meat. (Note the chart of the amount of sodium, calories, and fat in burgers that The Beet looked at did not come anywhere near "double or triple" the amount of salt but this is a perception.
"I will never get the plant-based version if it's triple the salt of the regular version. Reducing salt is my #1 dietary concern at every meal."
An interesting point made in this debate was that don't fool yourself into thinking your healthier just because you're substituting plant-based meat for the real thing. If eating faux meat burgers is helping you ease into a plant-based diet, then more power to you. But be aware of the nutritional values if you are switching for health reasons. For more on whether meatless meats are healthier, read this.
Where They Net Out on the Question of Cost
Meat-lovers trying out plant-based meat said even if they like it, it's not cheap enough to make the switch completely. Right now on Amazon, Beyond Meat's burgers are $5.99 for two (113g) patties whereas organic, grass-fed beef burgers sell for $8.99 for 4 (85g) patties. Many of the Reddit commenters say the price isn't worth the quality of the product.
"I don't buy them [Beyond Meat products] regularly because they cost more and I'm not sure if they really are any healthier."
If plant-based meat was definitively healthier for you, many would make the jump from real meat to plant-based, they said. Many noted that if the price of plant-based meat came down, they would replace it with real meat in stew and chili recipes.
"But when the price goes down I plan on using it in places where I’d have used frozen beef, like chili."
Appreciate Vegan Food
The most important point made in this discussion circles back to the appreciation of vegan food in its natural state. A whole-foods, plant-based diet is as delicious and healthy as you make it. Try out different whole food, plant-based recipes to find out what works best for you.
"You don't need to imitate what you're avoiding."
Whether you're avoiding animal products for your health, the planet, or animals, the commenter points out that you don't need a product to mimic something that you actively cut out of your diet.