Vegan Junk Food: No Thanks!
More and more people are removing animal products (meat, fish, eggs, dairy products) from their diets and turning to a more environmentally friendly, animal-friendly, so-called vegan diet, that will be better for their health while also being less expensive. However, be careful not to fall into the trap of vegan junk food because this will not be beneficial to your health.
This is not news, that ultra-processed foods are detrimental to our health. Several studies have shown the link between the consumption of ultra-processed products and obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancers. It is no wonder as these products are filled with salt, sugar, fat, additives, preservatives and are low in fibre. It is unfortunate to see that they account for almost half of the caloric intake in many countries.
Vegetarianism and veganism are gaining popularity around the world, and it’s no surprise that manufacturers are now increasingly marketing products for this set of population in order to offer them their alternatives. And there’s no shortage of options for ultra-processed vegan products:
- Fake meats such as the ‘beyond meat’ made popular by a certain fast food chain, or the fake breaded chicken,
- Vegetable-drink based ice creams, all just as sweet as their milk-based competition,
- Sweet yogurts made from coconut, almond or soy,
- The vast majority of the fake cheeses made from coconut oil high in saturated fat, whose consumption must be limited,
- Without mentioning other sweets, cookies, breakfast cereals, pizzas or chips.
If you take your health to heart and want to adopt a plant-based diet, stay away from these products and remember that the benefits of this type of diet are associated with eating mostly unprocessed foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. In effect, a diet consisting mainly of plants will help reduce the risk of developing certain chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
Now you can see that vegan is great, but not just any which way!
According to the official position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) “balanced vegetarian and vegan diets are appropriate for all ages of life, including during pregnancy, breastfeeding, early childhood, childhood, adolescence, old age and for athletes.” So, to help you make the transition and ensure you cover your nutritional needs, I invite you to read these articles:
Note that the golden rule is to cook. It is no secret that the first basic rule is to cook your meals, whether your diet is based mainly on plants or not.
If you are afraid of running out of ideas or not meeting your nutritional needs know that SOSCuisine offers you vegetarian and vegan meal plans and we also offer you the opportunity to meet with one of our dietitians who will be happy to accompany you during this change in lifestyle and diet.
To learn more about veganism, this is a classic read:
- Brenda Davis, Vesanto R. D. Melina (2014). Becoming Vegan: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition.
- Coeur+AVC. Les aliments ultra-transformés et les moyens de les éviter. Consulté le 24 février 2020. https://www.coeuretavc.ca/articles/que-sont-les-aliments-ultra-transformes
- Monteiro, Carlos A., et al. “NOVA. The star shines bright.” World Nutrition1-3 (2016): 28-38.
- Srour, Bernard, et al. “Ultra-processed food intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: prospective cohort study (NutriNet-Santé).” bmj 365 (2019): l1451.
- Fiolet, Thibault, et al. “Consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer risk: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort.” bmj 360 (2018): k322.
- Juul, Filippa, et al. “Ultra-processed food consumption and excess weight among US adults.” British Journal of Nutrition1 (2018): 90-100.
- Mendonça, Raquel de Deus, et al. “Ultraprocessed food consumption and risk of overweight and obesity: the University of Navarra Follow-Up (SUN) cohort study.” The American journal of clinical nutrition5 (2016): 1433-1440.
- Martins, Ana Paula Bortoletto, et al. “Increased contribution of ultra-processed food products in the Brazilian diet (1987-2009).” Revista de saude publica 47 (2013): 656-665.
- Monteiro, Carlos Augusto, et al. “Increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods and likely impact on human health: evidence from Brazil.” Public health nutrition1 (2010): 5-13.
- Pereira, Mark A., et al. “Fast-food habits, weight gain, and insulin resistance (the CARDIA study): 15-year prospective analysis.” The lancet9453 (2005): 36-42.
- Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ). L’achat d’aliments ultra-transformés en supermarchés et magasins à grande surface au Québec. Octobre 2018. https://www.inspq.qc.ca/sites/default/files/publications/2487_achat_aliments_ultra_transformes.pdf
- Moubarac, J.-C., et M. Batal. La consommation d’aliments transformés et la qualité de l’alimentation au Québec, TRANSNUT, Université de Montréal. 2016. https://nutrition.umontreal.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2017/02/RapportMSSS2016-10-19.pdf
- Melina, Vesanto, Winston Craig, and Susan Levin. “Position of the academy of nutrition and dietetics: vegetarian diets.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics12 (2016): 1970-1980.
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Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian graduated from the University of Montreal in December 2018 and is a member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (OPDQ). She believes that the quality of our food choices has a direct impact on our health and energy level. Her goal? To help people improve the quality of what they put in their plates, for their better well-being and greater pleasure.