Good nutrition is based on many variables.  Obtaining significant protein from food is one of the key elements to a healthy diet. For vegetarians obtaining enough protein sometimes can be a challenge.  Unfortunately, one of the food products high in protein that vegetarians and non-vegetarians like to eat is now coming under scrutiny – the ubiquitous veggie burger.  The Cornucopia Institute, a non-profit organization, has just published a report highlighting that most non-organic soybean based foods produced in the U.S. are bathed in a mix of petrochemicals that are used to extract soy protein. The proteins are now soaked in a chemical bath that consists of 50-60 percent n-hexane, normally found in industrial solvents and degreasers, along with a remaining mixture of methypentanes, methycyclohexane, and cyclohexane.  Currently the U.S. has no restrictions on the use of these chemicals in the extraction of soy protein.  On the other hand, the European Union only permits the sale of soy products that have less than 10 parts per million-hexane residue.  Since the U.S. has no restrictions, there is no way of knowing to what extent humans are being exposed to hexane in soy food products.  The Cornucopia Institute sent out samples of various brands of veggie burgers to be tested.  Their test results came back with 14-22 parts per-million hexane, above the standards set by the EU.  So what’s a consumer to do?  Your best bet is to stick with soy based products that are USDA-certified organic.  Brands like Sunshine Veggie Burgers and Tofurkey qualify are USDA-certified organic.

Photo Credit:  The Food Network


  1. This article discredited itself by the 3rd sentence. Tell us John, how often is clinical protein deficiency actually found in vegetarians? And how many grams of protein does an fully-grown male athlete need, let alone the average person.

    Try science sometimes. It works.

  2. Yes Patrick, science works. That is why we know that people require a minimum 1.1 gm protein per kg ideal body weight, more for athletes, and branched chain amino acids for those who exercise at the wrong times of day. Obtaining adequate protein is MUCH easier for a “fully-grown male athlete” than for the “average person.” Presumably you consider women to be average people? What about female athletes?

    Since athletes burn many more calories than the average desk jockey, vegetarian athletes have a much easier time obtaining adequate protein without consuming excess carbohydrate calories than a more sedentary vegetarian. And since many “vegetarians” misappropriate the term and are actually bagel-tarians or pasta-terians or pastry-terians, yes, obtaining adequate protein in a healthful way is a problem for them.

    Monsanto Burgers are not helpful, as they are then overloaded with toxins without adequate amino acids needed for detoxification processes.