June Debate: So what’s wrong if I have a burger?

Eat me!Rob Rees says…

I expect you imagine me to be all evangelical on this one and that I shall chastise anyone who happens to put a huge chunk of meat slapped between two baps anywhere near their mouth. Well actually you would be wrong.

I happen to enjoy a burger as much as the next person. However as is always the phrase these days is “its about the balance”.

I don’t recall my Mum ever giving me processed food as a child. The old fashioned values of cooking from scratch ran deep in our household – even on a tight budget. That meant I wasn’t part of the generation fearful to the onslaught of Mad Cow Disease.

The 1990s saw the John Gummer debacle feeding his child a burger and the proclamation at the time that it’s perfectly safe to eat. What folly! Thanks to the Food Standards Agency, Trading Standards Officers, Meat Hygiene Service and the majority of meat producers we now have a regained confidence in the meat entering the food chain.

Lets also not forget that burgers can be healthy. Imagine quality meat mixed with finely chopped shallots and aromatic spices all bound with free range egg and breadcrumbs and grilled with a drizzle of olive oil. Yummy. Reality says that doesn’t exist. There are tough minimum requirements for meat content for such mass produced items and definitions around natural and homemade that you can read about further on the site. This should make things more nutritious for us and certainly easier for us to make the right choice.

School Food has moved away as much as possible from shaped products in recent years so that we can get young people recognising what real food looks like. In an environment where up to last year children had the chance to eat a burger or processed item every day with very little true meat content it is absolutely right to say you cant have it anymore.  

As for the rest of us… some of the fast food outlets create items that give us a quick shot of energy and very little. Once in a while to indulge is your choice. For those that do it more regularly you become other peoples problem as the obesity crisis deepens and challenges our economy. There will always be those that buck the trend. I had an Auntie who smoked 40 a day and lived till she was 80 but that doesn’t make it right.

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5 Responses

  1. Nothing, from a nutritional point of view, though it depends on how many burgers you’re planning to eat and how often. Homemade burgers are probably the best option, made with lean minced beef and with no added salt. Beef mince can contain high levels of saturated fat and some shop-bought burgers have added salt. Although more expensive brands should contain better quality meat, they will not necessarily be low in fat. Cheaper brands and economy burgers contain poorer quality meat, usually from the head and can have added salt. Lashings of cheese and mayonnaise on a burger should probably be avoided too, but as with everything, a little of what you fancy does you no harm.

  2. No mention so far of veggieburgers which must be the lowest fat option. You don’t need to get them from the supermarket either, just mash up cooked beans and vegetables, add grated cheese (all burgers need a bit of fat to cook) and bind with breadcrumbs and egg. Perfect for the barbeque!

  3. Eat whatever you like. Burgers,BellyPork,Dripping on Toast,Kebabs…Anything..But do it only infrequently if it’s “Bad” for you. We are Omnivores. Don’t Pig Out is also a good attitude..

  4. I agree, burgers have got themselves a bad name, mainly due to the massed produced, tasteless stodge served from the large chains. The masses need to understand that food should taste of something!

    Its nice to see Gloucester rugby club starting to serve a higher quality meat burger, but at a higher price too..

  5. I’d rather pay a higher price for a quality burger. We all need to face up to the reality that meat is not meant to be a value commodity – the supermarkets have lured us into this mindset with economy meat products that only serve to damage health if over-consumed. As Rob said, “It’s about the balance” so paying more less frequently for a higher quality burger is definately worth it in my opinion!

    Blindmoose – I agree with you – the veggie option sounds very tasty and is a cheaper option too! Best of both worlds!!

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