Nutrition – Vegan Whopperd – Wiener Zeitung Online

From Tuesday, the Burger King branch in Vienna’s Westbahnhof offers only plant-based products in collaboration with The Vegetarian Butcher. This means that “contamination” such as splashing meat juices can no longer occur, which is often criticized by vegans and vegetarians. Be it beef or chicken burgers, nuggets, cheeses, bacon and sauces – everything is truly completely vegan, according to Burger King.

Thanks to the new offer, the fast food chain wants to reach not only vegans, but also vegetarians and flexitarians. The fact that the chain, which has been selling mainly meat for decades, is now completely vegan is a big step for the vegan society, explains nutritionist Katharina Petter of the Vegan Society Austria (VGÖ) to the Wiener Zeitung. In any case, the demand is high.

Burger King says how long the Westbahnhof popup will stay purely vegan depends on how well the restaurant is received by customers. As the number of vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians in Austria has increased in recent years, it is quite possible that the branch in Vienna will remain, agrees Petter.

4.6 million flexitarians

According to Vegan Society Austria (VGÖ) estimates, published by the Statista Research Department on March 10, 2022, around 80,000 people in Austria were on a vegan diet in 2018. From 2021, there were already 106 thousand. people. In 2018, 765,000 vegetarians were represented in Austria, from 2021 this number is 840,000. The number of flexitarians in particular has increased significantly. In 2018, 4,200,000 people were mostly vegetarians. Estimates in 2021 are 4.6 million people.

“Not fashion”

A vegan diet is out of fashion, says Petter. The Lieferando survey also found that a conscious approach to nutrition plays a role for more and more people. The result: a third of Austrians (31 percent) envision replacing animal products if there are suitable alternatives. “Meanwhile, everything is already available vegan,” explains Petter. “You have to try it yourself and find out what you like.”

Convinced vegans often mention climate change and the protection of the environment and animals as reasons for the plant-based diet. In Austria, 61 percent believe a vegan diet is important in fighting climate change. In addition, 57 percent of women say a vegan diet is better for the environment. For men, it is only 39 percent.

Research shows that a plant-based diet results in less greenhouse gas emissions: For example, a study by two Boku researchers, Martin Schlatzer and Thomas Lindenthal (2020) clearly showed that switching to a low-meat or vegan diet has a clear benefit for climate, use land and health.

“With a share of 20 to 30 percent of all greenhouse gases, food is responsible for a large proportion of Austria’s climate-related emissions. Our eating habits also have an impact on land use and thus also on food security, ”says Martin Schlatzer.

Compatible with sports

However, changing your diet overnight is a challenge for many. “People who have eaten meat for years are just used to it and don’t want to miss the taste, but they also give up meat for the sake of the climate or for the sake of animals,” says Petter.

By the way, a vegan diet can easily be combined with sports. There is a reason why more and more athletes are changing their diets. The option of a meat-free diet is especially beneficial even for endurance sports. According to experts, more carbohydrates are supplied to the body – that is, a quickly available source of energy for the body.

Professional footballer Philip Hosiner also changed his diet in 2018. The 33-year-old has not eaten meat in five years. The decisive factor was initially his high cholesterol, as the Wiener Zeitung explains.

After becoming more and more concerned with the topic of nutrition, he realized what eating meat really means: “At that time I really realized what kind of environmental pollution meat is and how inhumanly animals are treated,” says hosiner. The change was at the beginning very hard, “but after three months my body got used to it. The diet also improved my endurance and recovery time. Now I feel much more comfortable in my own skin, ”says Hosiner. Experience will show if athletes feel equally comfortable after a vegan double whopper.

The self-test shows: When the first bite of a vegan burger is difficult to distinguish from its meat counterpart – only the consistency of the cutlet is different. As for the nuggets, a colleague said, “I can’t do it at all,” and discreetly let the contents of his mouth disappear into the napkin. Tastes just differ.

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