Many plant-based snacks and meals are actually highly processed, calorie-laden, or secretly harboring vast quantities of sugar and sodium. If you follow the general rule a la Michael Pollan: “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t,” then all packaged foods should be avoided. “VEGA plant-based yogurt (cashew milk) is great. Vegan junk food: Vegan ice cream, candy, cookies, chips and sauces generally contain just as much added sugar and fat as their non-vegan counterparts. As if the risks of GM foods weren’t bad enough, vegan processed foods (especially fake meats) often contain textured soy or vegetable protein or soy isolates. But, of course, not all processed foods are created equal. Made from wheat gluten, seitan isn't inherently bad for you, but "if the label of the seitan you are buying contains a lot of sugar (5-10g or more) and a high amount of salt (above 400mg), chances are there are other ingredients incorporated into it that you don't need in your diet,” Michalczyk says. They are certainly healthier for the animals. We may earn a commission through links on our site. Food processing can be as basic as: freezing; canning; baking; drying; Not all processed foods are unhealthy but some processed foods may contain high levels of salt, sugar and fat. Personally, I have attempted to avoid as much processed food as I can. Sign up for our daily newsletter for more great articles and delicious, healthy recipes. Instead, she recommends West Soy Seitan, which has under 400mg 0f sodium and only 2 mg of sugar. “They have a very good variety of dairy-free flavors, which is different from other non-dairy ice cream makers,” she says. “Often, these substitutes are high in sodium,” Michalczyk says. Processed foods are not just microwave meals and ready meals. Get your favorite articles delivered right to your inbox! Reuters "Vegans who do not plan well are at risk for relying on processed vegan foods such as vegan sausage, vegan butter, and vegan cheese, which are often high in salt with a long list of ingredients and strange additives," said Conrow. Michalczyk says she's impressed with brands like Tofurky, which have "highly recognizable ingredients." Highly processed vegan (junk) food like the replacement meats and burgers etc are not healthy and I don't think they claim to be. Boxed vegan macaroni and cheese can contain artificial flavoring and coloring that you might not want to be consuming. Meat-free fast-food is still fast-food. Better yet? However, lots of plant-based products on the market are ultra-processed and filled with unnecessary fillers." Pastas often become a staple food for vegetarians, but sticking to only white pasta can be harmful for your health. Check the label: if something has 400 mg or more of sodium per serving, that’s a no-go. But if you like the taste of meat and depend on manufacturers to feed you, you are damaging your body. That’s not to say she lets plant-based products entirely off the hook, she highlights a few ingredients and nutrition facts all health-conscious eaters should look out for when selecting a meat alternative. Making your meals from whole foods or using minimally processed ingredients, such as frozen fruits or vegetables, is usually a better option due to the high levels of unhealthy ingredients commonly found in highly-processed foods. “These junk food vegan replacements can give you the same consumption profile as an unhealthy omnivore,” he says. Tesco has just launched a vegan range of food, as has Asda. It's also important to watch out for carbs, Michalczyk adds. Vegans eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, soy, legumes (beans), nuts, and seeds. Vegan… When I worked for PCRM back in 1990, we cooked up Boca Burgers (made from soy protein isolate) in an electric frying pan in the office on a regular basis. Just because a food doesn't contain animal protein doesn't mean it's the most natural option on the menu. "Since protein can be a nutrient of concern for vegans, it's going to be important for meals to incorporate plant sources of protein and not just carbs,” she says. However, most of the foods we eat are processed. As MensHealth.com previously reported, contrary to popular belief, not all frozen meals are bad for you, and frozen vegan meals are no exception. Not all vegetarian or vegan foods are healthy or created equal. To learn more about the best sources of fat, sugar, and salt; what Brenda has to say about soy; and other invaluable advice from a dietician, listen in! By increasing your fiber intake with whole foods you will be one step closer to kicking the junk food cravings and become a plant-based superstar! Products "that contain a lot of preservatives are most likely are low in every other nutrient vegans need (protein, vitamin B12, minerals like iron, etc. Vegan and vegetarian meat substitutes could pose health risks, researchers warn By Emilia Terzon Posted Tue Tuesday 10 Sep September 2019 at 4:54pm Tue Tuesday 10 Sep September 2019 at 4:54pm Just because a food is vegan doesn't mean it's healthy. 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