That Veggie Burger is Making You Fat

Have you ever eaten a veggie burger and said to yourself “this is soooo healthy for me!”? Guess what, it might be making you fat. Not all veggie burgers are created equal. So…..

Q&A: Are all veggie burgers healthy?

A: Short version: No.  There’s a very wide range for veggie burgers: some have sky high calories and almost no protein, some are low calorie and high protein, and the rest are in the middle somewhere. Reading the nutrition facts label can help change your life.   

Let’s break it down: there’s no legal requirement for what can or can’t be in a veggie burger… except having meat inside is probably a “no-no.” What I mean is that just because it’s called “better than meat” or “healthy veggie burger” (or “healthy” is implied because it’s vegetarian) does not mean that it’s going to match any part of what you or I would call “healthy” such as reasonable calories or protein, low fat content, low carbohydrate content, and/or anything else.

Does vegetarian = healthy?
It’s important to keep in mind that Doritos and Oreo’s are vegetarian, and that you can get pretty amazing vegan cookies (you can also find ones that are gross).  Just because something is vegetarian, vegan, organic, low fat, low carb, or any other label does not mean it’s got reasonable calories or protein. Foods that qualify for these labels can have tons of calories, low protein and almost no redeeming nutritional qualities. A “healthy” label or an implied “healthy” doesn’t mean that calories and/or fiber and/or protein are a given. 

What Veggie Burgers Do We Suggest?
We did a quick survey in Trader Joe’s + in our own freezer, and here’s what we found:

1. Winner #1.  BOCA* Vegan.  13 grams of protein. 70 calories!  3 grams of fiber.

2. Winner #2.  BOCA Original.  13 grams of protein. 100 calories.  3 grams of fiber.

Below are a few much less awesome choices for every day eating because they’re low in protein and high in calories. 

3. Impossible Burgers. 19 grams of protein.  240 calories!!!  3 grams of fiber.
19 grams of protein is decent until you look at the calories.  3 of the vegan BOCA burgers would give you 39 grams of protein for only 210 calories.

4.  Dr. Praegers California Veggie Burger.  5 grams of protein.  130 calories.  5 grams of protein.

5.  Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burger.  5 grams of protein.  180 calories. 4 grams fiber.

6.  Vegetable Masala Burger.  2 grams of protein!!  140 calories. 2 grams fiber.

7. High protein Veggie Burger.  26 grams of protein.  260 calories. 4 grams of fiber.  
This one does have some pretty good protein, however, if you look at #1 you get the exact same protein for about ½ the total calories and 50% more fiber.
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And if you’re wondering about some other ways to get in enough protein you’ll like: 20 Ways To Get 20 Grams of Protein for under 200 calories.

*For the record, we are not compensated for saying BOCA burgers are the winners.

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