Why Beyond Burgers Cause Upset Stomach or Diarrhea (Side Effects)


As a whole, vegans generally love Beyond Burgers.

And while most people have no issues with them (assuming the Beyond Meat is not expired), the most common complaint I’ve seen is of people complaining about stomach issues after having a Beyond Burger.

For some it’s excess gas and bloating, for others it’s even diarrhea.

While I don’t have a definitive answer as to why, I do have a few guesses that I’ll go over.

Beyond Burger Ingredients

beyond burgers

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 I can really see causing side effects: 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 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.

beyond burger nutrition

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.

Summary: Why Beyond Meat Can Cause Stomach Problems

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 in some people.
  • A reaction to eating too much fat at once.

These are very individual factors, so while most people don’t have any stomach issues after eating Beyond Meat, a small percentage of people genuinely will.

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.