Study finds benefits to beef-lentil blend
Not everyone can make the switch to a plant-based diet overnight, and some of us don’t want to stop eating meat altogether. But there are ways to eat more sustainably and healthily without completely forgoing the foods that you love.
According to new research published in the journal Sustainability, combining lentils and beef is a winning combination for building a better burger. The study found that substituting one-third of a lean beef patty with cooked lentils results in a blended burger that is more sustainable, nutritious and cost-effective.
The study evaluated the environmental impact of a combination lentil-beef burger, reformulating a lean beef patty with 33 percent cooked lentil puree. The results showed that the blended burger reduced the food’s carbon footprint, water footprint and land-use footprint by about 33 percent.
The research also found that the blended beef-lentil burger had an added three grams of fibre, 12 percent fewer calories, 32 percent less saturated fat and total fats and 32 percent less cholesterol per 115 gram serving. Opting for this blend also lowers the price by reducing production costs by around a quarter.
As a source of plant protein, lentils are unique because they’re carbon negative – they remove more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than they emit during production.
Lentils might not be as glamorous as some other plant proteins, but they are super good for you, containing plenty of B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium. They’re also rich in protein and iron, as well as being high in fibre. Lentils also contain a broad range of beneficial plant compounds called phytochemicals, which have been linked to a reduced risk of health problems such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Numerous studies have shown that adding more plant-based foods to your daily diet not only helps to improve health and nutrition but can also have significant environmental impacts. So next time you’re thinking about making a mince or burger dish, buy a third less meat, pick up some lentils, blitz them up and add them to your mince or burger patty to up the health benefits and lower your food footprint.
If you’re buying dried lentils, simply pop one cup of lentils in a saucepan with three cups of water, bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. If you buy canned varieties, make sure you rinse them under running water first, to remove any extra sodium that might have been added during the production process.