Why Beyond Burgers Cause Upset Stomach or Diarrhea

W

As a whole, vegans generally love Beyond Burgers.

And while most people have no issues with them, I’ve been seeing more and more stories of people complaining about stomach issues after having a beyond burger.

While I don’t have a definitive answer as to why, I do have a guess.

Beyond Burger Ingredients

Take a look at the ingredients list (I removed the vitamins and coloring ingredients):

water, pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oilrefined coconut oil, rice protein, mung bean protein, natural flavors, methyl cellulose, potato starch, sunflower oil, salt, potassium chloride, apple extract, vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, sunflower lecithin

Pea protein and the other proteins are pretty unlikely to give you any stomach issues. You’ll find those in most vegan protein powders, so you can always try a few shakes if you’d like to test it.

There are only 2 types of ingredients I can really see causing an issue: the oil, and the methyl cellulose.

Methyl Cellulose is Used As a Laxative

If you take a look at the wiki page for methyl cellulose you’ll see that it’s used as a thickener in food, but also a bulk-forming laxative.

We have no way of knowing how much is in a Beyond Burger (it may be a super small amount that doesn’t matter), so it may or may not be contributing to your issues.

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 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 2-3 beyond burgers, try limiting how much you have next time and see if you feel better.

One final thought I’ll throw out is that your stomach pain could also be related to 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.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

12 comments

  • Thank you for this info. It explains why I wound up with severe bloat, painful stomach cramps and diarrhea within a few hours of eating a Beyond Burger. I bought a packet as my husband is an enthusiast of them. I was surprised at all of the fat in the pan while cooking. The burger tasted good, but the fat clearly overloaded my system. The cramps felt like labor pains and lasted for a couple of hours. I stopped eating meat more than six years ago – I remember I couldn’t digest a beef burger either.

  • I fixed the burgers for dinner and really liked them. My husband was fine, but I got quite sick with diarrhea and vomiting. I was totally emptied out. It was a terrible experience, and I am afraid to try them again.
    Your point about the grease may be correct.

    • That’s the first I’ve heard about vomiting.

      Honestly if they can do that to you, avoiding them seems pretty reasonable (they’re not that amazing). You could try a few of the other plant-based burgers instead (maybe smaller portion to start).

  • Any experience with headaches after eating them? I don’t get any stomach symptoms just a bad headache. I’ve had them several times and it happened every time. I’d love to know what ingredient is causing it!

  • One burger gave me horrible gas and bloating. Taste was ok, and I was thinking While eating it that I could do this again. Then it hit. Greasy stomach overload, has and bloating from a vegan burger. Good lord these things are toxic to me. Felt like I ate a tub of chip dip.

  • I have noticed after I eat one, I get very tired. The burger sits like a brick that won’t digest for hours and hours. It’s terrible.

  • I’ve had two bad experiences now with two different types of meatless burgers. The first was with a Beyond Meat Burger. Tasted awesome at dinner but then I woke in the night with the worst headache I’ve ever had, vomiting and diarrhea. It was not fun.

    Last night I tried a President’s Choice meatless burger (the one in the green and white bag ) . I’ve eaten these several times before with no ill effect but this time is different. Woke with an upset stomach, nausea and just generally feeling awful. The only other thing I ate was fresh corn on the cob so I’m blaming the burger.

    I was interested to find this thread today of other people who have experienced similar things.

    I need to compare the ingredients on these two items and see if there are similarities. But frankly, I’m not sure I care. I won’t be eating a meatless burger again for a very, very long time.