Meatless burgers, hot dogs may not be what they seem

By Tom Nordlie • Published: October 15th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

So, you’re trying to eat better.

Those meatless burgers and hot dogs at the supermarket look like a great option, right?

Well, according to the American Dietetic Association, it pays to read package labels. Because not all meatless products are created equal.

In a recent news release, the association compared name-brand veggie burgers and hot dogs with their real-meat counterparts.

Some of the findings may surprise you.

For example, many veggie products… such as higher-protein burgers… aren’t exactly salad on a bun. They contain mostly soy and wheat gluten.

Another caveat: The meatless products were all fairly high in sodium and varied widely in terms of calories, fat and carbohydrate content. So if you have special dietary needs, some products just might be off-limits.

And here’s a surprise… all the veggie hot dogs the association analyzed contained more protein than the real-meat versions.

However, the data showed that low-fat hot dogs compared favorably with veggie dogs in most other respects.

For that matter, the beef patty with five percent fat didn’t look too bad, either. It had about the same amount of calories and fat as the richest meatless burger.

So if you’re looking for a savory, satisfying treat that won’t wreck your diet, we’re not going to take sides.

Look into both meatless products and low-fat versions of traditional fare.

Just make sure to read the labels before you buy. That way you won’t be in for a recipe with a rude awakening.

Do your homework, and you can do a favor for your taste buds and your waistline.