The Impossible Whopper from Burger King is a plant-based alternative to their traditional beef Whopper burger. It contains a patty made from soy and potato protein, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and heme – an iron-containing molecule that makes the patty taste like real beef. The Impossible Whopper provides a way for people who want to reduce their meat consumption to still enjoy the taste of a flame-grilled Whopper. But is it actually a healthy option, especially when ordered without mayonnaise?
Let’s start by looking at the nutrition facts for an Impossible Whopper without mayonnaise, based on Burger King’s website:
|Impossible Whopper (no mayo)||Amount|
Right away we can see that while the Impossible Whopper contains 0mg cholesterol since it contains no beef, it is still very high in calories, fat, and sodium compared to many other fast food or homemade burger options.
The Impossible Whopper without mayo contains 35g of total fat, which is over half the recommended daily value. Saturated fat is 8g, which is a significant amount coming from just one meal. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat intake to no more than 13g per day for the average adult. So the Impossible Whopper alone contains well over half that amount.
Most of the fat in the Impossible Whopper likely comes from the oils used to cook the plant-based patty and assemble the sandwich – coconut oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil. While these plant-based oils are thought to be healthier types of fats than animal fats like butter or beef tallow, they are still high in calories and should be consumed in moderation.
The Impossible Whopper without mayo contains a whopping 1080mg of sodium. The recommended daily sodium intake for most adults is no more than 2300mg per day, and ideally limited to 1500mg if possible. So the Impossible Whopper alone delivers nearly half the maximum daily sodium recommendation.
The high sodium content comes from the patty itself as well as the bun, ketchup, pickles, and other burger ingredients. The Impossible patty has 370mg sodium, while the standard Whopper bun accounts for over 300mg sodium alone. The only way to reduce the sodium would be to remove ingredients like ketchup, pickles, and onions.
At 57g of total carbohydrates, the Impossible Whopper is a fairly high-carb option, especially for people monitoring their blood sugar levels. However, it does contain a decent amount of fiber (4g) which helps slow digestion and promote fullness. The sugar content, at 9g, is also not too high compared to other fast food burgers or sandwiches.
A positive nutrient in the Impossible Whopper is its protein content. At 28g of protein, it provides over half the recommended daily protein intake for most adults. Protein helps keep you full and satisfied, and is important for building and maintaining muscle mass.
The protein comes from the soy and potato proteins used to make the Impossible Burger patty. Animal-based burgers like beef Whoppers also contain lots of protein in addition to more saturated fat and cholesterol.
The Impossible Whopper without mayo is not a significant source of important vitamins and minerals. Here is how it lines up for some key micronutrients:
- Vitamin A: 2% DV
- Vitamin C: 2% DV
- Calcium: 4% DV
- Iron: 15% DV
- Potassium: 2% DV
The heme iron helps boost the iron content, providing a decent 15% of the recommended daily intake. However, the Impossible Whopper does not provide much at all of vitamins A or C, calcium, or potassium. Adding some tomato slices or extra veggies would help increase vitamin and mineral content.
Healthier Preparation Options
Ordering an Impossible Whopper without mayo is one way to remove some unwanted calories, fat, and sodium compared to getting it with mayo. But there are other ways you could request the burger be prepared to make it a healthier option:
- Hold the cheese: Skipping the cheese slice saves about 90 calories and 6g fat.
- No ketchup: Ketchup adds 60 calories and over 300mg sodium.
- No bun: Getting the Impossible patty as a lettuce wrap saves calories, carbs, and sodium from the bun.
- Extra veggies: Add some tomato slices and onion to get more nutrients.
- Sub sweet potato fries: Choose a side salad or air-fried sweet potato fries instead of French fries.
Another option would be to order an Impossible Slider which uses a smaller bun and patty, reducing the overall calories, carbs, and fat compared to a full-size Impossible Whopper.
Overall Nutrition Profile
Looking at its complete nutritional breakdown, an Impossible Whopper without mayo contains:
- High calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium
- Moderate protein and carbohydrates
- Low beneficial vitamins, minerals
While it’s lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol compared to a beef Whopper, an Impossible Whopper without mayo is still a high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium food. It is not an optimal healthy meal choice for any balanced diet.
Healthier Plant-Based Burger Alternatives
For a healthier plant-based burger option, consider choosing a different veggie burger that is lower in fat, sodium, and calories. Here are some options to look for:
- MorningStar Farms Garden Veggie Burger (120 calories)
- Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burger (150 calories)
- Trader Joe’s Veggie Burger (110 calories)
- Boca All American Flame Grilled Veggie Burger (80 calories)
You can also make easy, healthier veggie burgers at home with ingredients like beans, lentils, quinoa, mushrooms, or sweet potatoes plus fresh veggies and herbs. Homemade burgers let you control how much fat, sodium, and additional ingredients go into them.
Should You Eat an Impossible Whopper?
The Impossible Whopper does provide a lower-fat, lower-cholesterol alternative to beef burgers for those looking to reduce meat consumption. However, it is still high in calories, fat, sodium, and highly processed ingredients. It would not be recommended as a regular part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Occasionally enjoying an Impossible Whopper as a treat, or when dining out with limited vegetarian options, can be fine for most people. But be mindful of limiting mayo and cheese, and pairing it with healthier side dishes and drinks.
For a more frequent plant-based burger habit, choose alternatives that are lower in calories, fat, and sodium, or make your own healthier veggie burgers at home. And always balance out any less healthy meal with more wholesome, nutritious foods and beverages for your overall daily diet.
While the Impossible Whopper offers a vegetarian alternative to traditional beef burgers, it is still relatively high in calories, fat, and sodium when ordered without mayonnaise. It provides ample protein but is lacking in many vitamins and minerals. There are healthier options like homemade veggie burgers or pre-packaged brands that are lower in calories and fat. The Impossible Whopper should be an occasional treat, not a regular part of a balanced diet.