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Does Vegetarian Equate to Healthy? Maybe, Maybe Not.

04/20/2010
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A recent study on popular “health food” veggie burgers brought about an alarming conclusion: these healthy burgers contain a very unhealthy toxin, hexane. A recent study by the Cornucopia Institute found that most non-organic veggie burgers currently on the market are made with the chemical hexane, an EPA-registered air pollutant and neurotoxin. Hexane is an air pollutant and is also a product of gas refining. In 2007, grain processors were responsible for two-thirds of our national hexane emissions and workers who have been exposed to it have developed both skin and nervous system disorders, concluded a report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

According to Charlotte Vallaeys, senior researcher at the Cornucopia Institute, “If a non-organic product contains a soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, or texturized vegetable protein, you can be pretty sure it was made using soy beans that were made with hexane.”

She attributes this to mass production of veggie burgers and manufacturers wanting to make their soy based “meat” have as little fat as possible. In order to do that quickly and cheaply, manufacturers submerge the soybeans in a bath of hexane to separate the oil from the protein. Unfortunately for consumers, the FDA does not monitor or regulate hexane residue in foods and according to the report by the Cornucopia Institute, veggie burgers aren’t the only products containing hexane. They even found soy-based infant formulas that are hexane extracted.

Veggie burger products linked to hexane are:

  • Amy’s Kitchen
  • Boca Burger, conventional
  • Franklin Farms
  • Garden Burger
  • It’s All Good Lightlife
  • Morningstar Farms
  • President’s Choice
  • Taste Above
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Yves Veggie Cuisine

Yikes! So maybe that Kobe beef burger isn’t all that bad afterall. But before you head to the meat aisle, there are a number of veggie burgers that do not contain hexane. Also, products labeled “organic” aren’t allowed to contain any hexane derived ingredients which can make shopping a bit easier and stress-free.

Veggie burger products that are reportedly hexane-free are:

  • Boca Burgers “Made with organic soy”
  • Helen’s Kitchen
  • Morningstar “Made with organic”
  • Superburgers by Turtle Island
  • Tofurky
  • Wildwood

For more on hexane free products you can read the Cornucopia Institute’s full study.

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