By John Vlahakis

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

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