Blog post


July 3, 2024


Groundbreaking research continues to solidify the health advantages of plant-based meats, offering compelling evidence that they not only promote heart health, but also reduce the risk of serious conditions like strokes and heart attacks. 

Introducing the Nagra Review 

Most recently, Dr. Nagra et al. conducted a comprehensive review to investigate the long-term health impacts of plant-based meats (PBMs). The review looked at various studies on PBMs and their effects on heart health. Plant-based meats (PBMs) protect the heart better than animal meat does, as they are usually lower in unhealthy saturated fats, higher in fiber, and devoid of cholesterol. Data shows that swapping animal meat for PBMs can improve heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol and body weight. Nagra et al. concluded that replacing meat with PBMs may be cardioprotective. 

Importantly, the benefits of PBMs extend beyond traditional surrogate markers. Studies have shown that improvements in events like strokes and heart attacks occur with plant-based meats, separate from benefits on markers such as blood pressure. This means that PBMs are not just good on paper—they can actually help prevent the serious health issues that people worry about most like strokes and heart attacks. 

Debunking Industry Myths 

What’s more, Dr. David Spence’s editorial to the Nagra et al review article sheds further light on the health risks associated with too much meat and eggs, and how industry-fueled propaganda has misled many into underestimating the health risks associated with these foods. 

One major misconception is that meat is not harmful due to its cholesterol and saturated fat content. Spence clarifies, "Cardiovascular harm from meat and egg yolks is not only due to the high content of cholesterol and saturated fat in meat and the very high cholesterol content in egg yolks; it is also due to elevation of plasma levels of toxic metabolites of the intestinal microbiome, such as trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO)." TMAO is a toxic metabolite linked to increased heart disease risk. This means that the damage goes beyond what you see on a nutrition label—it's also about how these foods can produce harmful substances in your body that then raise the risk of serious heart issues. The good news is that reducing meat consumption can reduce plasma TMAO levels significantly within a month. 

Additionally, Spence highlights, "Carnitine in meat (particularly red meat) and phosphatidylcholine in egg yolk are converted by intestinal bacteria to trimethylamine, which is then oxidized in the liver to TMAO." Even moderate kidney damage leads to impairment in elimination that results in higher levels of these harmful substances in your blood, increasing the danger to your heart. 

The Health Benefits of the New Beyond Burger 

A wealth of scientific evidence supports the cardiovascular and overall health benefits of plant-based meats. Prioritizing plant-based meat vs. animal meat is a clear path to better health and sustainability.  

It's important to note that ingredient profiles of plant-based meat products vary from brand to brand. The new Beyond Burger is Non-GMO Project Verified and contains the following beneficial attributes: 

  1. No Cholesterol: Contains no cholesterol, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  2. Lower in Saturated Fat: Just 2g of saturated fat per serving, 75% less than typical beef burgers.
  3. Made with Avocado Oil: Contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
  4. Provides Dietary Fiber: Supplies fiber which aids in digestion. 
  5. High-Quality Plant Proteins: Mix of high-quality, plant-based proteins from yellow peas, brown rice, faba beans and red lentils, providing 21g of protein per serving.
  6. No Hormones or Antibiotics: Free from hormones and antibiotics, commonly used in livestock production.
  7. Simplified Ingredient List: Simplified ingredient list with reduced sodium.
  8. Environmentally Sustainable: Uses fewer natural resources to produce and generates lower greenhouse gas emissions.
  9. Ethical and Cruelty-Free: Cruelty-free, aligning with ethical and animal welfare considerations. 

These key points underscore the significant health, environmental, and ethical benefits of choosing plant-based meats like the new Beyond Burger. 


Matthew Lederman, MD 
Chief Medical Officer, WeHeal; NY Times Bestselling Author, The Forks Over Knives Plan; Health & Medical Advisor, Beyond Meat 


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