McDonald’s, the company that brought you a sandwich with a punched-out meat patty known as the McRib, will begin testing a plant-based burger.
The “P.L.T.” (“Plant. Lettuce. Tomato.”), by the looks of the photo, also features onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and one of those squares of processed cheese, the latter two of which would technically make this burger not vegan.
Whatever though, because it’s all about the meat! Or, “meat,” rather, as the P.L.T. will build its protein base from the Beyond Burger, according to CNN Business.
But what’s actually in this Beyond stuff anyway? And is it any healthier than a beef burger?
What’s in a Beyond Burger?
Straight from their website…
Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Pomegranate Fruit Powder, Beet Juice Extract (for color)
So, if you’ve always loved burgers, but thought that they’d taste even better with a little more pea protein isolate and pomegranate fruit powder, the P.L.T. might very well be for you.
Is the P.L.T. healthier for me than a beef burger?
One Beyond Burger patty, according to their website, contains 250 calories, 20 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbohydrates (2 grams of which are fiber), and 18 grams of fat.
One three-ounce 80/20 ground beef patty, according to the USDA Nutrient Database, contains 230 calories, 22 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbohydrates, and 15 grams of fat.
While there’s been a fair amount of press coverage for both the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger, and both companies market the health value of their products, the greater scientific community has yet to come to an understanding as to the health benefits of fake meat products specifically.
“These kinds of meat analogs are recent inventions,” Ryan D. Andrews, R.D., a Connecticut plant-based-nutrition expert and author of A Guide to Plant Based Eating told Men’s Health in this article. “We don’t know the long-term health repercussions of regularly consuming them.”
For right now, feel free to sample the P.L.T. if you’d like, but consider it more of a flavor exploration than a health change.
“The average American is eating about seven ounces of meat per day. If this American were to do a straight swap and start eating seven ounces of meat analogs per day, with everything else in the diet being held constant, it’s hard to say for sure if this would offer much of a health benefit,” Andrews told Men’s Health.
Okay, so where can I try the McDonald’s P.L.T.?
Well, that’s going to be tricky. Unless you live near one of the 28 locations in Southwest Ontario where McDonald’s will test the burger, you’re out of luck. The test includes Toronto, but still. It’ll only be available for 12 weeks. So if you’re planning on taking a road trip, hurry up.