​Vegan burgers make men feel fuller than beef, study finds

As plant-based burgers get tastier and the health benefits become clearer, we might soon see more carnivores go meatless.

  • A recent study compared mens' physiological responses after eating beef and plant-based burgers.
  • All men said they felt fuller after eating the plant-based burger.
  • Vegan burgers are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. and abroad, likely due to their health and environmental benefits.

Which do you think would leave you feeling more satiated: a cheeseburger made of good ol'-fashioned meat and cheese, or a vegan burger with tofu? The likely answer is the vegan burger, according to new research.

In a 2018 study — it was published in the journal Nutrients on December 6 — researchers asked a group of participants to eat both of these meals on separate days. The group comprised 60 men — 20 healthy, 20 obese, 20 with type 2 diabetes — all of whom had their physiological responses recorded after each meal.

The results surprised the researchers: All of the men, including healthy participants, reported feeling fuller after eating the vegan burger. Why? It seems to be that vegan meals produce higher levels of beneficial gastrointestinal hormones that are involved in the "regulation of glucose metabolism, energy homeostasis, satiety, and weight management," the researchers wrote.

Although it's still unclear exactly what they do, these hormones have been a focus of study among scientists looking for ways to treat obesity and diabetes. According to the new study's researchers:

"Our results indicate there is an increase in gut hormones and satiety, following consumption of a single plant-based meal with tofu when compared with an energy- and macronutrient-matched processed-meat meat and cheese meal, in healthy, obese and diabetic men..."

Another factor might be the high fiber content of the vegan burger, though the researchers noted that "most acute studies of meals differing in fibre consumption did not demonstrate enhanced satiety."

The study had several limitations, namely that it examined a small test sample of only men, and it only examined physiological responses after two specific meals — not a habitual diet. Still, the researchers suggested plant-based diets could be useful in treatments for diabetes and obesity.

"Our findings indicate that plant-based meals with tofu may be an effective tool to increase postprandial secretion of gastrointestinal hormones, as well as promote satiety, compared to processed meat and cheese, in healthy, obese, and diabetic men," they wrote. "These positive properties may have practical implications for the prevention of type 2 diabetes."

Vegan burgers begin to dominate menus

Veggie and vegan burgers are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., with restaurants such as McDonald's, Red Robin, Denny's, The Cheesecake Factory and even White Castle all now offering meatless sandwich options.

One of the biggest commercial successes in the industry comes from Impossible Foods, a San Francisco-based company that makes the much-talked-about Impossible Burger that browns and bleeds like real red meat. This convincing feature has won over even some dedicated carnivores, many of whom also probably appreciate the health benefits of going meatless: The newest Impossible Burger, for example, contains zero cholesterol, half the fat and fewer calories than a beef burger.

It's also easy to see how the environmental benefits of plant-based burgers might convince some people to make the switch, considering that raising cattle and other livestock is a major contributor to global emissions.

Beyond Meat

A 2018 study from the University of Michigan, commissioned by the plant-based burger company Beyond Meat, compared the environmental costs of producing meatless and traditional beef burgers, finding that producing meatless burgers takes:

  • 99 percent less water
  • 93 percent less land
  • 90 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions
  • Nearly 50 percent less energy

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  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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