Burger King is busily running ads touting their new meatless “Impossible Whopper” as a healthier alternative to a regular Whopper (which I happen to love by the way).
But is it really a healthier option? Read on to find out…
Truth be told, the Impossible Whopper and the regular Whopper are actually pretty closely matched in regards to the amount of unhealthy stuff that’s in them.
Why do I say that? Because Burger King’s own website basically says as much.
You can easily verify that for yourself:
Here’s the nutrition info listed on the Whopper page of Burger King’s website:
- Calories – 660
- Fat – 40g
- Saturated Fat – 12g
- Trans Fat – 1.5g
- Cholesterol – 90mg
- Sodium – 980mg
- Carbohydrates – 49g
- Fiber – 2g
- Sugar – 11g
- Protein – 28g
Now, compare that to the nutrition info listed on their website’s Impossible Whopper page:
- Calories – 630
- Fat – 34g
- Saturated Fat – 11g
- Trans Fat – 0g
- Cholesterol – 10mg
- Sodium – 1080mg
- Carbohydrates – 58g
- Fiber – 4g
- Sugar – 12g
- Protein – 25g
These charts make it easy to compare a few key nutritional values.
First, while it’s true that the Impossible Whopper has 30 less calories than a regular Whopper, is that really a big improvement when they both have over 600 calories? I don’t think so.
The Impossible Whopper has 8 grams less total fat than a regular Whopper, but the amount of saturated fat (one of the “bad” forms of fat) is virtually the same.
One area where the Impossible Whopper really is better is in the amount of cholesterol it has compared to the amount in a Whopper.
10mg of cholesterol compared to 90mg really is a big improvement.
But then they go in the other direction when it comes to the amount of sodium in each type of burger.
While the regular Whopper has a “whopping” 980mg of sodium, the Impossible Whopper has even more at 1080mg.
That’s an increase of 100mg! That’s pretty bad, expecially if you happen to be on a heart-healthy diet.
Another area where the Impossible Whopper is better is in the amount of fiber it provides. It literally doubles the amount of fiber you’ll get from a regular Whopper (4g vs. 2g).
The amount of sugar in the two versions of the Whopper are virtually the same.
However, you do get 3 grams less protein in the Impossible Whopper, and as with the sodium content mentioned above that can be a big deal if you’re on a heart-healthy diet that’s naturally lower in much-needed protein.
As you can see, the Impossible Whopper and the regular Whopper hamburgers from Burger King are actually pretty closely matched in regards to the amount of unhealthy nutrients they contain.
While the 80mg difference in cholesterol is definitely a plus for the Impossible Whopper, much of that advantage is negated by the increase in sodium and the decrease in protein.
Bottom line: The Impossible Whopper is really no healthier than a regular Whopper, especially if you happen to be on a heart-healthy diet.
Of course that won’t really matter to you if your primary concern is avoiding the consumption of meat. And we all have our priorities.
Just be aware that the veggie patties Burger King uses on their Impossible Whoppers are cooked on the same grill they use to cook their beef patties and chicken products.
That means there will definitely be at least some meat by-products “contaminating” your Impossible Whopper.
To finish up, here’s an interesting short video that discusses the science behind the development of the “Impossible Burger”. Check it out!
Note: As always, you can watch the video at full screen by clicking the “square” icon that will pop up in the lower-right corner of the video after it begins playing.