Americans needs to check themselves before they wreck themselves.
A new survey conducted by market research group Mintel reveals that 82% of Americans — or four out of every five people — believe that burgers are a "good source of nutrients." Yes, burgers are a good source of protein and iron (as well as calories and pleasure), but nutrition experts take issue with burgers qualifying as a health food, Time reported. Three out of five nutritionists Time interviewed gave burgers a thumbs down in the nutrition department.
Burgers are typically served between buns that are often made with refined and processed grains and topped with plenty of ketchup, a sugar-packed condiment. And whether the burger has added cheese or not, the meat itself is a major source of fat. A T.G.I. Friday's Jack Daniel's burger patty, for example, contains close to 35 grams of fat, which is more than half of the daily recommended fat intake for someone eating 2,000 calories per day.
Burgers may have earned their falsely healthy reputation from the rise of protein-focused meal plans like the Atkins diet and the Paleo movement, both of which emphasize eating meat and (skipping carb-filled buns) to achieve optimum health.
It's not that burgers are the devil: "Most people who are otherwise healthy should be fine to have a burger or two a week," registered dietician Isabel Smith said over email. It's about moderation, she explained.
There is hope for the country's understanding of health: The survey found that nearly half of the 1,767 participants (all of whom had ordered a burger in the last three months), are at least interested in beef-free burger alternatives because of the "negative health perceptions" associated with the food. Consumers reported being interested in options like turkey, chicken and bison burgers.
While those meats can sometimes — but sometimes not — be a healthier alternative to a standard burger, a meat-free option might be something to consider, as veggie burgers are often less fatty and caloric (which better qualifies them as a "health" food) than their animal-based counterparts.