The Washington Post recently ran an article about a group of Argentinean scientists working to make a healthier burger. The surprisingly simple thought process behind the research is to take the fat out of beef and replace it with healthier fats. The research team has been experimenting with hundreds of formulations, including ones using substitutes of high oleic sunflower oil and omega-3 fatty acids.
The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have long been touted, but they is found in seafood, not beef. High oleic sunflower oil is low in saturated fat and could help lower cholesterol.
Noemi Zaritzky, head of Argentina's Center for Research and Development in Food Cryotechnology, tested out all the burger trials on her lucky colleagues. Formulating the recipe called for a lot of trial and error. The team looked to balance texture and taste without making something so far off base that it would destroy the chemical composition of the beef.
The conspiracy theorist in me long ago decided that sub-par veggie burgers were actually marketed by the beef industry. Packaging tasteless slabs of pressed cardboard into tasteless slabs of pressed cardboard seemed to me the perfect way to get people to eat more beef. In this new, inside out take on making healthier burgers, it seem everybody might be happy--the beef industry, consumers, and health advocates. Well, everyone but the cow, that is.
My paranoid nightmares about meat packers forming sawdust into patties hasn't proven to be true (yet...), and the growing interest in non-traditional hamburgers has given us some truly delicious alternatives. Here's to hoping that Noemi Zaritzky and her team achieve delicious success. They're looking to partner up and get their recipe into your burger-lovin' hands.