Meat substitute promises taste, texture of the real thing

- Americans consume billions of pounds of ground beef every year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. What if you could get the same texture and taste without the meat? Los Angeles scientists have been working on it since 2009. They claim to have produced a meatless burger right down to its "sizzle in the pan" that replicates the real thing.

Ethan Brown is the CEO of the company Beyond Meat, which has developed substitutes for both chicken and beef. He grew up on his grandfather's dairy farm and developed an appreciation for animals -- and now he is vegan. Brown says the company has tried to make products that require almost no taste, texture, or aroma sacrifice on the consumer's part. His team created a meatless burger that he says has both the flavor and texture of real meat. He says they are realigning the proteins in plants so they "take on that fibrous texture and that architecture or muscle or meat."

But is a meatless burger good for you? Dr. Vincent Pedre is board-certified internist, functional medicine certified practitioner, and author of the book "The Happy Gut." He says replacing meat with a more renewable resource is good. But he questions the effect of the combination of ingredients. He says more studies should be done about that and about genetically modified ingredients.

He suggests looking closely at the label of anything you eat -- the fewer ingredients, the better. Dr. Pedre says he is a big believer in eating food the way nature made it.

The plant-based burger is only sold at whole foods. I picked up a few to taste it for myself.

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