Have you heard of the Impossible Burger? It’s a plant-based burger but is different from other vegan hamburgers. That’s because it’s said to be close to the taste, texture, and aroma of a meat-based beef hamburger. The burger was developed by a Standard University professor. This original burger contained wheat, potato, and soy protein. It also contains coconut oil, which is a keto-friendly ingredient. The company recently made some tweaks to the recipe that involved swapping out some ingredients like wheat protein. This burger is beef-like yet is the impossible burger keto-friendly? This is the main issue for people on the low-carb/high-fat ketogenic diet.
The answer to whether the burger is keto-friendly is about whether or not it meets the requirements of the keto diet. The main criteria are low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein. There are other issues like sugar content but the main factors are whether the food is low-carb and high-fat. This will help people to stay in a state of “ketosis” so they get energy from stored fat instead of food’s carbs. This happens when the liver releases something called “ketones” that the diet is named after. It’s important to consume foods that prevent your body from kicking you out of ketosis.
What’s the Impossible Burger?
The history of the Impossible Burger is almost as interesting as the burger itself. It was developed by Dr. Patrick O. Brown. He launched the company Impossible Foods almost a decade ago in 2011.
Brown’s goal of making plant-based burgers was to prevent damage to the environment caused by animal foods. The Impossible Burger mimics beef to a tee. That includes how it looks, tastes, and smells.
One unique feature of this plant-based burger is it even “bleeds” like a beef burger when you cut it. That’s because of something in soy that also adds flavor/color to the vegan burger.
This year the impossible burger got some tweaks made to the original recipe. Here are some ingredients of the original IB:
- Wheat protein
- Potato protein
- Soy protein
- Coconut oil
- Vitamin Bs and C
The new 2019 recipe includes some changes worth noting. For example, the burger is now gluten-free because it swapped out wheat protein and swapped in soy protein.
Some of the coconut oil was replaced by sunflower oil. This was done to decrease the burger’s saturated fat content. Some studies show that high amounts of saturated fat can cause health issues.
The soy “heme” added to make the burger “bleed” is probably the most controversial change to the burger. That’s because it’s made by combining soy protein with GMO yeast.
This has raised some debate about how natural/healthy the burger is. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified GMOs as “safe.” However, there are still question marks about the health effects they might cause.
Still, the new burgers are now available at restaurants that serve the plant-based burger. That includes White Castle, Fatburger, and Wahlburgers. They’ll also be available at US supermarkets starting this year.
The company reports Impossible Burger 2.0 has 0mg of cholesterol and is gluten-free. It also says it has the same protein and iron as cow beef.
Impossible Burger Keto-friendly?
When picking keto-friendly foods, the most important factors are low-carb and high-fat. They’re critical for helping people to get into the state of ketosis and avoid getting kicked out of it.
There are other issues to consider. They include the amount of protein and sugar in the food. Protein is generally moderate in keto foods. Meanwhile, sugar should be low since more sugar means more carbs.
Let’s do a side-by-side comparison of the original Impossible Burger and beef burger. They both have the same calories at 240. The IB actually has more fiber at 3g, while there’s 0g in a beef hamburger.
In terms of minerals, there are some major differences. The IB and meat burger both have about half of the daily value (DV). IB is actually higher in iron at 25% DV vs. beef’s 16% of DV.
A striking difference is Vitamin B12. A beef burger just has about half of DV. Meanwhile, the IB clocks in at a whopping 130% of DV.
However, beef burgers have the edge in salt and sugar. Sodium is at 1% of DV while the IB is at 16% of DV. Meat burgers also have zilch sugar while IBs have under 1g.
Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of the burgers’ macronutrients. A big difference is in carbs. Beef has 0g while the plant-based burger has 9g. This is a major difference since it’s critical for keto foods to be rock-bottom low in carbs so people can stay in ketosis.
Next, there’s total fat. Both the original and vegan burgers are roughly the same. Beef burgers have 13g while the IB has 14g of total fat.
Finally, the original IB had 10g less protein versus beef burgers. That’s 19g vs. 29g.
Is the Impossible Burger keto-friendly? It meets the standards for fat and protein. However, 9g carbs are quite high. vs. 0g for beef burgers.
How to Pick Keto-friendly Burgers
So, what exactly is a keto-friendly burger? There are many options so it can be tough to pick one when you’re at a sit-down or fast-food restaurant. Here are some things to look for:
More specifically, a burger is keto-friendly without the buns. That’s because standard hamburger buns are made from refined flour. This is sky-high in carbs. There are better options like potato buns but they’re still going to add moderate carbs.
This is simply because beef itself has 0g carbs. By adding bread made from grain-based flour you’re going to be adding a significant amount of carbs.
That could prevent you from staying in ketosis, which is a bad thing when following the keto diet.
Make sure to avoid high-carb toppings, which could make your burger very keto-Unfriendly. The basic veggie toppings won’t be a problem. However, here are some high-carb toppings you should try to avoid:
- Honey mustard sauce
- Teriyaki sauce
- Breaded onions
There are better low-carb/high-fat toppings including:
- Egg (fried)
These different ingredients are either low-carb or high-fat. For example, the basic lettuce, tomato, and onion are low-carb. Meanwhile, other toppings like a fried egg, mayo, and avocado add healthy fat.
The good news is you can find many examples of keto-friendly burgers at well-known fast-food chains. They include McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Hardees, Five Guys, and Sonic.
It might seem odd to eat burgers without the buns. What’s the problem? The buns are usually made of refined flour, which higher in carbs than whole grains.
The main issue is when eating white flour buns, it causes your sugar to spike. That, in turn, can prevent you from staying in ketosis, which is a problem when following the keto diet.
The bottom line: a beef burger with the right toppings is better than impossible burger keto.