Over the last year, there has been an increase in fast food restaurants offering what they claiming to be “healthy alternatives” to meat products. The latest is the breakfast sandwich from Starbucks.

Starbucks just introduced the new Impossible Breakfast Sandwich, which comes complete with an Impossible plant-based sausage patty, aged cheddar cheese, and a cage-free fried egg on artisanal ciabatta bread.

Many people believe this is an extremely healthy choice. Unfortunately, consumers are being given only part of the story as to what is healthy.

Although a move in the right direction, the fact that the sandwich is packed with cheese and egg, makes this a very unhealthy choice. Many consumers do not realize this. They assume because the ads and images claim to have plant-based meat, they are doing their body good.

Add to that the fact most people believe the term cage-free eggs is better than other factory farmed raised chickens and the public is being duped many times over with this type of misleading information.

“Cage-free, a term regulated by the USDA, means that the eggs come from hens that, put simply, aren’t caged: They can “freely roam a building, room, or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle, but [do] not have access to the outdoors.” Considering the conventional cage is 8 ½ by 11 inches, or the size of a piece of paper, this seems like a better lifestyle — but there are downsides, too. According to All About Egg by Rachel Khong, cage-free facilities have more hen-on-hen violence and lower air quality than facilities that use cages.” https://www.eater.com/2019/7/17/20696498/whats-the-difference-cage-free-free-range-pasture-raised-eggs


‘Plant-Based’ Is Somewhat Misleading


Recently, I posted on Starbucks’ Facebook page that their newest “plant-based” menu addition is misleading.

Immediately, the attacks from Starbucks fans began. I felt like I had been thrown to the wolves. A few people made it their mission to tear apart my post.  “They never said it was vegan,” came the battle cry from several Starbucks fans.

Ironically, I never once said anything about veganism, but like so many who don’t know the difference between plant based and vegan, many people assume they are one in the same.

Being a vegan does not mean you are plant based. However, being whole food, plant-based does mean you don’t eat meat, dairy, poultry or fish which likely means you are vegan.

Full post about Vegan vs Plant Based.

When the Starbucks sandwich defenders ganged up, at first I was surprised, then I was shocked at the mob mentality, then I resolved to do what I could to make people aware that what they are defending is actually a very unhealthy food choice.

The kind of food choice that has led to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other health related problems.

The fact is, while you might think you’re eating healthy and doing something good for yourself, by choosing a “meatless” alternative that is not only highly processed, but also topped with egg and cheese, you are actually eating something that is a far cry from healthy.

According to Maura Rodgers, a registered dietitian with her own practice in San Francisco, “The marketing teams behind these plant-based meats make the food sound enticing. But in reality, these products are highly engineered plant protein sources made from soy or pea protein isolate, “They’re not made out of vegetables; they’re made from processed soy,” she adds.

“Also, marketing for these products often implies they are healthy choices, but that depends on how you define healthy. Some brands use non-organic ingredients that may have been exposed to chemicals or that may be genetically modified (for example, more than 90% of soy in the U.S. is genetically modified, according to the Department of Agriculture).”

Full article, https://www.nextavenue.org/healthy-plant-based-burger/


Consumers are Being Misled


Most consumers have no idea that what they are being led to believe is healthy, is not. First, the plant-based products used often have so much saturated fat in them, that they are equally unhealthy to real meat.

Alternatively, the amount of processing that goes into the production of meat alternatives is astoundingly unhealthy.

If someone is eating plant-based meats for ethical reasons and for compassion to animals, that is one thing. But if they are eating these fast food alternatives for health reasons, they are missing the mark. And it may not be their fault. They are being led to believe this is a great alternative based on massive ad campaigns designed to mislead the public.


Lactose Intolerance


One reason the sandwiches containing cheese are unhealthy is due to how many people are lactose intolerant.

Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. Lactose intolerance in adulthood is most prevalent in people of East Asian descent, with 70 to 100 percent of people affected in these communities.

Consumers are being led to believe when they choose the “plant based” options on the menu they are eating healthy, but in reality, they may be harming themselves.

So, before you jump on the “you’re an idiot for criticizing fast food chains that offer the healthy alternative of plant based meals” you might want to do more research. Not only will you likely discover how truly unhealthy these choices are, you will also find that the treatment of animals is incredibly cruel and inhumane. Even when they claim, “Cage free” raised chickens, this is also misleading.  

An excellent book on the topic of what cheese does to us is The Cheese Trap: How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy

Regardless of what choice you make, be sure it’s an informed choice.