impossible burger

Impossible Burger On The Keto Diet: What You Need to Know

When you are on the keto diet, meat is the one thing you don’t have to worry about if it contains any carbs. Therefore, burgers are often on the daily menu for most keto dieters. They are rich in fat and protein and contain no carbs- perfect for the keto diet. 

However, the Impossible Burger has gained popularity in the last few years, and it is not your ordinary burger. This product is made entirely out of plants but tastes like meat. Understandably, you are probably wondering HOW is that possible? If it has the same nutritional values as a meat burger? And most importantly, can you have it on the keto diet? 

To find out if this plant-based burger is keto-friendly, keep on reading!

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What Is The Impossible Burger?

The Impossible Burger is a plant-based burger known for its taste, similar to a regular meat burger. The company which created the product is called Impossible Foods Inc.

This company develops plant-based substitutes for meat products- such as burgers and sausages. 

Patrick O. Brown, a Stanford biochemistry professor, created the company in 2011, with headquarters in Redwood City, California. The idea for this company is to give the taste and the nutritional benefits of meat products but eliminate the harmful effects and environmental impact of livestock products. 

They researched meat and meat products at the molecular level and found a way to extract plant proteins and make them taste like meat. After years of research, the company launched its signature product- The Impossible Burger, in July of 2016. 

Today, this product is a favorite among many people. It is widely spread in five countries and is available in over 20 000 restaurants across the United States, Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, and Macau.

Impossible Burger Nutrition Facts

In the table, you can see the nutritional information for 4 oz. of the Impossible Burger. Keep in mind that restaurants can add more ingredients to the burger and serve it with whatever they want. Therefore, the nutritional information may differ depending on the side dishes and added ingredients. (*)

Calories240 kcal
Fat14 grams
Protein19 grams
Total Carbs9 grams
Fiber3 grams
Net Carbs6 grams

What is the Impossible Burger made of?

They made this product from proteins, fats, binders, and flavors- all deprived of plants. The detailed ingredient list is the following: water, soy protein concentrate, coconut oil, sunflower oil, natural flavors.

It also contains 2% or less potato protein, methylcellulose, yeast extract, cultured dextrose, modified food starch, soy leghemoglobin, salt, mixed tocopherols (antioxidant), soy protein isolate, vitamins and minerals (pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), zinc gluconate, niacin, thiamine hydrochloride (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12).

Is the Impossible Burger Healthy?

While its ingredients seem like they are not that bad, this product became a controversial topic since it launched in July 2016. The reason for the controversies surrounding it is the GMO that it contains. Specifically, the additives the company adds to make it look red, meaty and make it “bleed” when you cut it.

While that seems impossible to achieve, it is not. The ingredient that causes it to look like real meat is soy leghemoglobin. This additive is also called heme or legume hemoglobin. Essentially, it is the same as animal hemoglobin but deprived of plants- in this case, soy. 

However, the soy leghemoglobin in this product is one of the two genetically engineered ingredients in it. To create the genetically modified soy leghemoglobin, they add DNA of soy leghemoglobin into yeast. Then they ferment it, and isolate the soy leghemoglobin and add it to the burgers. The other genetically modified ingredient in this product is soy protein. (*)

The FDA allowed companies to use soy leghemoglobin as a food color additive in products. That is because no harmful effects were found during research. However, some consumers are concerned about its long-term effects, which are still unknown. (*) (*)

This product contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, zin, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, vitamin B1, and iron. However, they are added to the product during the processing, while nutrients in beef are naturally occurring. It is also high in salt.

This product contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, zin, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, vitamin B1, and iron. However, they are added to the product during the processing, while nutrients in beef are naturally occurring. It is also high in salt. 

Can You Have The Impossible Burger On The Keto Diet?

The Impossible Burger macros contains 240 calories in a 4 oz serving. Out of those calories, there are 19 grams of protein, 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of total carbs, 3 grams are fiber, and 6 grams are net carbs.

When you look at the numbers, it doesn’t seem difficult to incorporate the 6 grams of net carbs into your daily carb limit. 

However, this product is highly processed and contains GMOs. And, you probably already know that genetically modified food is not well-received in the ketogenic community. Additionally, while most scientists and the FDA think that GMOs are safe, the company that made this product uses new technology to do this. Therefore, the long-term effects of the process are unknown. 

Apart from the GMO, these tasty burgers contain more non-ketogenic ingredients- cultured dextrose, sunflower oil and modified food starch. 

When compared to a regular meat burger, this product contains less protein, more fiber, and more carbs (a regular burger does not have carbs). 

So, is it keto-friendly? The short answer is- no. If you are on a strict keto diet, this burger is something you need to stay away from. It is highly processed, genetically engineered, and contains non-ketogenic ingredients. If you are not vegan or plant-based, then there is no nutritional reason for you to consume this product over regular burgers. Regular burgers have no carbs, have slightly more protein, and don’t have any carbs. And, their nutrients are not added while processing- as is the case with the Impossible Burgers. 

If you are not on a strict keto diet, and you want to eat an Impossible Burger, you still can. However, while eating it once in a while won’t hurt you, it is still a highly processed food, which is genetically modified, so it is not ideal to consume it too often. 

Additionally, if you are going to eat this product in a restaurant, make sure you keep track of the side dishes. Every restaurant can add its twist to the burger and add more ingredients. That can increase carbs in the meal. 

Where To Buy?

You can buy the Impossible Burger in 4 countries- the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

If you want to cook the burger at home, they are selling this product in grocery stores. You can look for it in Fairway Market, Vons, Pavilions, Wegmans, Jewel-Osco, Albertsons in California and Nevada, Safeway in California and Nevada, and various chains owned by Kroger. 

Additionally, this product is also available in over 20 000 restaurants all across the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, and Singapore. 

They are also sold online on their official site. But, at this time, the company only ships to 48 states of the United States.

Bottom line:

Is Impossible Burger keto-friendly?

No, this product is not keto-friendly. It is highly processed and contains non-keto ingredients.

Are Impossible Burgers low carb?

Yes, they are low-carb when compared to other vegan burgers, but have more carbs than a regular burger (it does not contain carbs)

How many net carbs are in one serving?

In a 4 oz. serving there are 6 grams of net carbs. 

Conclusion

The Impossible Burger is a tasty and flavourful plant-based burger. The company that makes the burger found a way to reconstruct the taste and look, to resemble a regular meat burger. It is red, has the texture of ground beef, and it “bleeds” when it’s cut. 

To achieve such similarities to meat burgers, they genetically engineer the proteins that they use in the product and create a genetically modified heme. That itself makes this burger not STRICTLY keto-friendly. 

Additionally, they use modified food starch and dextrose- which are both not keto-friendly. 

It is safe to say that this product is not strictly keto-friendly. However, if you are not on a strict keto diet and want to try the Impossible burger, you still can. But, keep in mind that restaurants may add other ingredients to it that may increase the number of net carbs. Also, it is best not to consume it too often since it is highly processed food. 

*Image by grandbrothers/depositphotos

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