No, you’re probably not just imagining it.
While it’s far from everyone, a significant portion of people who consume Beyond Burgers experience side effects causing stomach issues, such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea.
There are a few ingredients in Beyond Burgers that have well established scientific evidence showing that they can cause these very side effects.
Beyond Burger Ingredients
Take a look at the ingredients list (I removed the vitamins and coloring ingredients):
Water, pea protein*, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, rice protein, natural flavors, dried yeast, cocoa butter, methylcellulose, and less than 1% of potato starch, salt, potassium chloride, pomegranate concentrate, sunflower lecithin, vinegar, lemon juice concentrate
While it’s possible that pea protein isolate could give someone stomach trouble if they’re not used to it, it’s not that likely. You’ll find pea protein and rice protein in most vegan protein powders, so you can always try a few shakes if you’d like to test it.
Realistically, there are only 2 types of ingredients that are known to cause digestive side effects: the oil, and the methyl cellulose.
Methyl Cellulose is Used As a Laxative
If you take a look at research on methyl cellulose, you’ll see that it has long been used as not only a thickener in food, but also a bulk-forming laxative (source).
As little as 1 gram of methyl cellulose can be an effective laxative.
To test this, you could try a different plant-based burger that still has a lot of fat, but doesn’t have this ingredient.
Beyond Burgers Have a LOT of Fat
If you’ve ever cooked one on a frying pan, this shouldn’t be a surprise. You don’t need to add any oil yourself because quite a bit comes out of the burgers themselves.
Oil in small amounts is fine, but a common side effect of eating a lot of fat in a short amount of time is known to cause stomach problems (unless you’re on a diet like keto and are used to it), and possibly even diarrhea.
The Beyond Burger has 18 grams of fat per burger, which is quite a bit (although not that much more than meat patties).
Even just one burger might give you stomach issues if you typically don’t eat too much fat (I really wouldn’t recommend adding any mayo to it as well).
If you only have issues after eating multiple Beyond Burgers, try limiting how much you have next time and see if you feel better.
Summary and Conclusion
As we went over, stomach issues related to eating Beyond Burgers are usually related to:
- A reaction to methyl cellulose, which can have a laxative effect
- A reaction to eating too much fat at once
These will vary widely from person to person, which is why only some people have stomach issues after eating Beyond Meat.
One final thought I’ll throw out is that your stomach pain could also be related to eating expired Beyond Burgers, or undercooking Beyond Burgers, although I think it’s pretty unlikely. If you’re having trouble cooking them on a stove or grill, try cooking your Beyond Burgers in the oven.
Which cooking method is best for Beyond Burgers if I have stomach issues?
If you have stomach issues after eating Beyond Burgers, the high quantity of oil is a likely cause, and can be reduced by choosing the right cooking method. Cooking them in the oven on a draining rack can allow excess oil to drip away.
What is a good portion size for Beyond Burgers?
If you refer to the packaging itself, you’ll see that 1 patty is the recommended serving. You should start by eating a single patty and observe if you have stomach problems in the next few hours. If you don’t, you may be able to tolerate more than 1 serving at a time.
How else can I reduce stomach issues from Beyond Meat?
If you’re new to eating Beyond Meat, it’s possible that you simply introduced it too quickly to your diet. Like all new foods, introducing it slowly in small amounts gives your body the best chance to adapt to processing it without issues.