• Impossible Foods Create The Impossible Burger

    Plant-based vegan vegetarian burger

    A Silicon Valley startup company have created what they call 'The Impossible Burger'. The Impossible Burger is 100% plant-based making it the perfect solution for vegetarians and vegans who miss eating their favourite foods. But what is it?

    Who are Impossible Foods?

    Founded by Patrick Brown, Impossible Foods is a Silicon Valley startup on a mission to make the global food system more sustainable. The fast-growing team includes scientists, engineers, chefs, farmers and foodies. 

    How did the company get started?

    The company started in 2011 with the aim of answering the question “Why does meat taste like meat?” Brown and his team spent the next five years researching every aspect of the unique sensory experience of meat, from how it looks raw to how it sizzles. They then recreated the precise flavours, textures, aromas, and nutrition of ground beef using only plants. By understanding meat at the molecular level with the help of scientists and chefs, they managed to make a burger that truly tastes like meat yet is completely plant-based.

    How does it work?

    The Impossible Burger is made from simple ingredients found in nature, including wheat, coconut oil and potatoes. The secret ingredient, however, is heme. Heme contributes to the characteristic colour and taste of the meat, and it catalyses all the other flavours when meat is cooked. Heme is exceptionally abundant in animal muscle and it’s a basic building block of life in all organisms, including plants. Impossible Foods discovered how to take heme from plants and produce it using fermentation.

    What's in the burger?

    Water, Textured Wheat Protein, Coconut Oil, Potato Protein, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Leghemoglobin (soy), Yeast Extract, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Konjac Gum, Xanthan Gum, Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Zinc, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.

    How is the impossible burger better for the planet?

    It takes a lot of land, water, food, and time for cows to turn plants into meat. Compared to a burger made from cows, making an Impossible Burger uses about 1/20th of the land, one-quarter of the water, and produces 1/8th of the greenhouse gas emissions.

    What's the nutrition information?

    plant based vegan burger Impossible Foods

    Unfortunately for us here in the UK, the Impossible Burger is currently only available in the US, however Impossible Foods say they hope to expand internationally in the future.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • How Do I Calculate My BMI?

    How to measure BMI

    A study has shown that in the UK you are more likely to be obese than underweight. The study, conducted by The Imperial College London, compared the BMI (body mass index) of around 20 million men and women over the last 30 years around the globe and found that obesity has more than doubled in women and tripled in men.

    The study, which was published in The Lancet, focused on 186 countries worldwide and found that obesity has grown from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million in 2014. Over the same time, the proportion of underweight people fell from 14 percent to 9 percent of men and from 15 percent to 10 percent of women, according to the study. Despite this, starvation is still a serious threat in some regions.

    Based on these findings, the researchers estimated that in nine years, a fifth of all adults globally and 40% of American adults will be obese. To qualify as obese, you need a BMI score of over 30. A score of under 18.5 is classed as underweight.

    How do I calculate my BMI?

    BMI is a recognised method of measuring whether a person's weight is right for their height. BMI is measured by calculating a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of the person's height in metres (kg/m2).

    For example, if a person weighs 60kg and measures 1.7m, you would calculate 1.72 (1.7 x 1.7) which equals 2.89. You'd then divide their weight by that result, so 60/2.89 = 20.7. Round this up to 21 to get the person's BMI. This person would fall into the healthy weight category.


    Underweight:

    < 18.5

    Healthy:

    18.5- 24.9

    Overweight:

    25 - 29.9

    Obese:

    30 or above


    What are the risks of being overweight?

    People with an overweight BMI are more likely to develop health problems such as:

    • Heart disease
    • Stroke
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Some types of cancer
    • High blood pressure
    • Kidney disease

    Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help to reduce BMI and eliminate these risks.

    What are the risks of being underweight?

    People who are underweight are also at risk of health issues such as:

    • Brittle bones (Osteoporosis)
    • Absent periods in women
    • Iron deficiency (Anaemia)

    Weight lifting and gradual weight gain can help to target these issues.

    BMI Accuracy

    Healthcare professionals take multiple factors into consideration when assessing weight, as BMI alone does not take into account muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat and therefore a person who has a lot of muscle mass may have an overweight BMI, despite having a healthy level of body fat. 

    Is BMI useful?

    Whilst BMI is useful, it can only tell if you’re carrying too much weight. BMI can't tell the difference between excess fat, muscle, or bone.

    The NHS states that adult BMI does not take into account age, gender or muscle mass. This means that:

    • very muscular adults and athletes may be classed "overweight" or "obese" even though their body fat is low   
    • adults who lose muscle as they get older may fall in the "healthy weight" range even though they may still be carrying excess fat

    However, the BMI is a relatively straightforward and convenient method of assessing someone's weight.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • This Will Change Everything You Thought You Knew About Protein

    Snickers Mars Protein Bars Healthy Food

    These days, the majority of food products claim to be 'high protein' with big brands like Mars and Weetabix all hopping on the bandwagon. But can a bowl of Weetabix really claim to be 'high protein' if it only has 7.6g per serving? The answer is no, not really. For me as a fitness professional, a product is not 'high protein' unless it has 25g of protein minimum as that's what I could get by eating a chicken breast or by drinking a protein shake, both staples of the high-protein food group. So why are companies doing this? And have you been sucked into their clever marketing ploys?

    Once upon a time, 'low fat' and 'low calorie' foods were the big trend. But then everyone finally realised that if a product has zero fat, it probably contains a lot of sugar and is not actually that healthy at all. The high protein fad is just that, a fad. Yes, it's true that most people don't consume enough protein in their diet, but eating a bowl of Weetabix probably isn't going to help and you would definitely be better off just eating a chicken breast or drinking a protein shake. Companies realise that people will buy something just because it has the word 'protein' on the packet and will be willing to pay a large premium for it!

    Check Your Facts

    Don't just be drawn in by clever marketing and branding: just because a company has splattered the word 'protein' on the packet doesn't mean it's healthy. Let's use Warburton's as an example who have created 'protein' bread. Is no food product sacred? Bread is a staple carbohydrate source, it doesn't need to be high in protein! Let's compare the nutritional information of a regular loaf of their bread to a loaf of their high protein bread, like for like (per 100g, not per slice, because if you look closely their slice sizes differ per product).

    First, Warburton's Regular Wholemeal Bread

    per 100g
    Energy 974 kJ
    231 kcal
    Fat 2.8g
    - of which saturates 0.5g
    Carbohydrate 37.8g
    - of which sugars 2.4g
    Fibre 6.4g
    Protein 10.6g
    Salt 0.95g

     

    Next, their 'High Protein' Wholemeal Bread

    per 100g
    Energy 953 kJ
    227 kcal
    Fat 3.3g
    of which saturates 1.0g
    Carbohydrate 32.0g
    of which sugars 2.0g
    Fibre 7.8g
    Protein 13.5g
    Salt 0.98g

     

    As you can see, the 'high protein' version actually only has 2.9g more protein per 100g than a regular loaf! As well as 0.5g more fat. Is that really worth going mad for? Is it worth paying nearly twice as much? (A 400g loaf of the regular bread is 75p while the high protein version in the same size is £1.20). 

    So how does the marketing work?

    Warburton's claim that a slice of their regular bread is 23.8g on average, whereas a slice of the protein bread comes in at 29g. It's a bigger slice, so it's going to have a higher protein content anyway! Always be weary of suggested serving sizes as they are hugely manipulated by companies so that they fit their desired nutritional information. They will do this for fat and sugar content as well, for example they might say that one cookie is two servings so that the fat and sugar content 'per serving' is not as high. It's a very common trick that lots of food companies do.

    The bottom line

    As always, the best advice is to always eat as naturally as possible. These foods are not naturally high in protein, so chances are they aren't good for you. There are heaps of foods which are naturally high in protein such as chicken, turkey, nuts, seeds, and quinoa. You are far better eating more of these types of foods than highly processed, sugar-filled treats which happen to have a marginally higher protein content than their non-protein counterparts!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
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