The Rise of Frankenfood

The term “Frankenfood” is best known for food that has been genetically modified and Frankenfood is on the rise!

The popularity of “Plant-Based” faux meat is on the rise and grocery stores are lining the aisles with the modified food. Companies are cashing in on the billion-dollar industry and the industry can say and do pretty much what it wants without federal oversight. A perfect example is how fast the FDA approved “Beyond Burger” and the “Impossible Burger” for consumer sale and consumption. Now, the food industry has the full protection of the U.S. government. The question is where’s the plants? The Beyond Burger has a long list of ingredients. Including; Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, and Refined Coconut Oil.

Beyond Burger

The ingredients in this burger have 2% or less of Cellulose from Bamboo. Some Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, and Maltodextrin. Add some Yeast Extract, Salt, Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Dried Yeast, and Gum Arabic. Of course, throw in Citrus Extract (to protect quality), Acerbic Acid (to support color), and Beet Juice Extract (for more color). To make sure the burger is edible the addition of Acetic Acid, Succinic Acid, Modified Food Starch and Annatto (for added color) is necessary. Wow, this sounds like highly processed food — didn’t this same government say to reduce our consumption of processed food?

Of course, nutritionist and dietitians are joining the parade and arguing that these “Franken’ Foods” are healthy and a great alternative to meat.


The Impossible Burger

These burgers are the makings of “Frankenstein” at its finest, and include ingredients that try to mimic the flavor, aroma and even the “bleeding” color of meat. One of the Impossible Burger’s ingredients is a genetically modified version of Heme. An iron-containing molecule from soy plants meant to mimic the heme from animals, which is what gives it its uniquely meaty flavor (according to the company’s website).

Here’re the ingredients in the Impossible Burger: Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, NaturalFlavors. And 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.

Here’s what you’re eating in the Impossible Burger: 240 calories, and 8 grams of saturated fat, thanks to coconut oil. By comparison, an 80% lean beef burger has 280 calories and 9 grams of saturated fat. That’s not a lot of difference. (yet, the plant burgers are cholesterol-free).

The Beyond Burger has less saturated fat than the beef or the Impossible Burger (6 grams), but a similar calorie count, with 250 calories per patty. But a turkey burger has 4 to 5 grams of saturated fat, and 220 to 240 calories (depending on the brand). A grain-based veggie burger that’s not attempting to mimic meat has 150 to 160 calories with 1 gram of saturated fat — thus, the healthiest from a fat standpoint. What’s more, depending on the brand, the Veggie Burger has real veggies, like onions, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, green and red bell peppers, quinoa and brown rice.

The protein content in both “Franken” foods are similar as well. The Impossible Burger has 19 grams of protein from soy and the Beyond Burger has 20 grams, from peas. Beef and turkey burgers each have 19 to 21 grams of protein, again, depending on the brand. Coming in with the lowest protein count, grain-based veggie burgers contain 9 grams of protein.

The faux-meat burgers also rank higher in sodium than the beef and turkey burgers, with the Impossible Burger containing 370 milligrams of sodium and the Beyond Burger containing 390 milligrams. The beef patty has 65 to 75 milligrams of sodium, depending on the brand, and the turkey burger has 95 to 115 milligrams. Grain patties have over 400 milligrams of salt as an ingredient.

Trick or Treat!

It’s a trick, not a treat. Chronic diseases are on the rise in the United States, leaving insurance companies with the challenge of covering care for patients with expensive, long-term health conditions. Frustration is the norm as health insurance costs increase each year. The per cent of increase no longer matters as employees have grown numb to constantly hear their health insurance cost is going up more than their salaries. It’s like going backwards year after year with no end in sight.

Due to the escalating costs, The America Medical Association (AMA) has asked private and public payers to fund chronic disease management programs. Stakeholders have established chronic disease management funds that give financial support to pay for the high costs of chronic care treatment. A chronic disease, as defined by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, is a disease lasting three months or longer due to one or more chronic health conditions. About 60 million Americans are limited in their usual activities due to chronic diseases.

Obesity is the leading cause of chronic diseases. High blood pressure (hypertension), hyperlipidemia, (excess fat in the bloodstream), anxiety, depression, and strokes follow close behind. These are all foodborne diseases.

Tragically, food is the leading cause of diseases that are destroying the American Middle Class and putting countless others at risk of heart disease, cancers, diabetes and premature death. Healthcare spending reached $3.3 trillion dollars in 2017, based upon estimates from the Center for Medicare Services (CMS). Spending is expected to continue to grow at an average of 5.5 per cent through 2025, with chronic disease treatment comprising a major part of that spending. There seems to be no end in sight. Help and hope for those employees suffering from chronic disease are near!

Accessing health care because of diet-related diseases is perhaps where the problem reaches its conclusion. Health insurance companies have become creative in shifting the cost to the patient. Some have tried to hide the true cost of medical care by not revealing the true cost until the bill arrives in the mail. That’s where the nightmare begins. You’ve met your high deductible, paid high out-of-pocket costs, plus inpatient deductible and “specialty drug” co payment; got released to learn that you owe an added ridiculous amount that you cannot pay. Adding to this insult is your recovery may take months or years and you are now medically unable to work.

As if that is not bad enough, you now need home health care as part of your recovery. Someone must take care of you until you fully recover. Who will that be? A spouse; a child; a skilled nursing facility; or no one?

All “this is okay” because the consumer should have and could have known better by reading the fine print or conducting a little more research. Blaming the victim is always an effective legal strategy. You have been taking vitamins or supplements forever and now you learn that they don’t work and to add insult to your disappointment, the manufacturer knew their product was ineffective at best and potentially harmful in the long run but put profit ahead of your health and now, IT’s Your Fault! “You should have known better! You could have found out that your vitamin or supplement was ineffective, that’s why the label states “Consult your physician!” Now you learned that your vitamins are killing you and it’s your fault.

The reality of this grim situation is that you are now stuck with the bill. The high medical deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses and prescription drug costs will drive you and your family into financial ruin!

Healthcare Help Is on the Way

The most important thing we can do is to protect ourselves and the ones we love. I’m not saying don’t eat “Franken Food.” Be sure to tell your doctor you’re doing it. Medical doctors are bracing for the long-term impacts that Franken meat will have on your health. If processed food is a guide, expect more obesity, more cancers, accelerated aging and new diseases that will decimate another generation. It’s already happening. Frankenfood is not food. It should be labeled so the consumer is not tricked into eating unproven ingredients masquerading as food! When it comes to your health, stay informed and inform your doctor about what you’re eating.

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