Recent Blog Articles

Heart Health

Plant-based meat alternatives: How do they stack up?

September 1, 2021

Meatless burgers may be better for your heart than regular hamburgers, especially if you pair them with sides and drinks that are healthier than typical fast-food fare.


The original veggie burgers, made from a mix of grains, beans, nuts, and vegetables, date back to the 1970s, when vegetarian diets were still on the fringe. Today, popular fast-food outlets sell meatless burgers that mimic real beef much more closely than those early versions. And plant-based diets (which aren’t necessarily vegetarian but lean that way) are now practically mainstream.

The ample evidence linking red meat to a higher risk of heart disease and cancer has encouraged many people to steer away from meat and other animal-based foods. However, two of the newer meatless burgers, the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger, are heavily processed and contain about the same amount of saturated fat as traditional burgers, along with more sodium (see "Burger battles: A nutrient comparison"). So are they actually better for you than beef?

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.