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Supermarket vegan food - healthy or not?

(30 Posts)
tidyskatemum Thu 09-Jan-20 20:45:13

Supermarkets are full of vegan meals labelled "not chicken "not beef", vegan "cheese" etc etc. So many people seem to be moving to a vegan diet for supposed health benefits but it worries me that so much stuff in the supermarket is highly processed, which I understood was something we should try to avoid at all costs.

merlotgran Thu 09-Jan-20 20:56:13

I think it's important to read the labels. A lot of these so called healthy foods are loaded with sugar or salt (or both) as a preservative and for flavour.

I think if you're going to have a meat free meal you don't need anything that pretends to be meat. Just have a meal based on vegetables.

I do like making my own veggie burgers though. grin

Razzy Thu 09-Jan-20 21:42:26

Vegans are in it for ethical reasons, not specifically health. They just don’t like the killing of cows, pigs, chickens, etc. as they see all animals the same - why do we not kill and eat dogs and cats? When you can choose a plant burger that tastes the same as a beef one, but no animal had to die for you, they choose the non-cruelty version.

Whole food plant based is a healthy vegan diet.

So - there are healthy eating vegans and junk food vegans! Red meat and processed meat has been proven to be bad for your health. Eating whole food plant based is healthy.

Healthy vegans eat a wide range of fruit and veg, legumes, beans, etc. and avoid processed foods.

Overall though I think the science still points to a balanced vegan diet being healthier than a balanced omnivore diet.

Hetty58 Thu 09-Jan-20 22:03:04

Vegans just need to take care that they eat a healthy diet, possibly with supplements, to ensure nutritional needs are met. If they do, they are likely to enjoy far better health than meat eaters or vegetarians:

academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/89/5/1627S/4596952

notanan2 Thu 09-Jan-20 22:22:40

There are lots of vegan foods. Some is healthier thsn others. Sometimes vegans just want pizza beer and icecream and are under no illusion that theyre being healthy that day!

Scentia Thu 09-Jan-20 22:27:57

I have been vegan for years now, and all this new stuff in the shops means I have gained a stone in the last year!!!
I don’t have meat substitutes normally as I don’t like the texture of meat but since all this processed food is available I have been having sausage rolls and all sorts.
I have got to stop being tempted by this rubbish food as I really don’t think it is at all healthy.
I am just so pleased that my lifestyle choice is getting more popular day by day and the sooner everyone eats like me (or how I used to!!!) the better.

Hetty58 Thu 09-Jan-20 22:33:05

An awful lot of supermarket food is just complete c**p anyway. Get some nutritional yeast, available in most supermarkets and Holland and Barret, for your Vitamins D, B12 and zinc, plus more. It's a very tasty addition too. I'd also add that you really must include plenty of leafy green veggies!

tidyskatemum Thu 09-Jan-20 22:40:34

I think we're still skirting round the issue. Too many people are getting dragged into the supermarket hype - processed vegan stuff in your face in every supermarket as they jump on the current bandwagon aiming to increase sales - and profits as so much of it is overpriced.

notanan2 Thu 09-Jan-20 23:11:02

Its not really "IN YOUR FACE" 😆 its just there... along with everything else. Are the frozen peas and toilet duck IN YOUR FACE too?

Hetty58 Thu 09-Jan-20 23:16:09

I think it is being over-hyped as 'meat substitute' (for those who don't want to think about nutrition). We don't need meat anyway.

Vegans have an amazing choice of food. Eating healthy food makes you feel so strong, happy and fit that it's really worth making the effort.

vegansrock Fri 10-Jan-20 05:33:17

Vegans have more choices now- even Aldi has vegan sausage rolls and ice cream.. Food manufacturers just want to sell more of their processed stuff, ready meals etc. Vegans are much less likely to be obese, have diabetes or high cholesterol - but now vegans can eat as much junk food as anyone else. I’m not sure if that’s progress or not.

harrigran Fri 10-Jan-20 07:42:01

I have to disagree Hetty, we do need meat. Iron deficiency anaemia is on the rise in those who do not eat red meat, especially those of child bearing age.

Missfoodlove Fri 10-Jan-20 10:32:59

Supermarket ready meals are highly processed and usually fairly grim.
I understand the convenience but I would rather have beans in toast than spend my money on such rubbish

notanan2 Fri 10-Jan-20 10:38:32

Its not all or nothing. Most people dont either cook from scratch every meal OR eat ready meals every meal!

Its not unhealthy to have an ocassional ready meal. They have their place. Their existance doesnt mean that people dont ever cook as well

vegansrock Fri 10-Jan-20 10:43:29

harrigran I haven't eaten meat for over 50 years- I am not anaemic. I have had 4 children. I have never taken iron supplements. Have low cholesterol, low BP and am the same weight as I was 50 years ago. I am not unhealthy.

Witzend Sat 11-Jan-20 10:11:31

I do wonder what’s in (e.g.) vegan sausage rolls from a shop. Personally I find sausage rolls unappealing anyway.

Dh and I aren’t vegan but there are cooked-from-scratch meals we have eaten often for years, which would be 100% vegan if I used vegan stock cubes instead of standard chicken or veg ones.

I read recently (article by an eminent nutritionist) that true vegans do need vitamin B12 supplements, since it’s only present in food of animal origin, but I dare say there are vegans who would dispute that.

Razzy Sat 11-Jan-20 10:20:59

I always find these types of conversations interesting. Any mention of the word vegan and suddenly everyone is a nutrition expert and trying to find fault. Yet our hospitals are packed with meat eaters and red and processed meat has been proven to be a cause of cancer. Most obese people are omnivores. In every supermarket there is an entire wall of vitamins and supplements for omnivores. Omnis have been eating junk food and processed meals for years. Meat and omni junk is “in my face” in every aisle.

If you are omni have you ever had your blood tested? Do you record your food and check your nutrient intake? Vits and mins? Fats?

As I said, vegans can be healthy or unhealthy. They just don’t want to eat animals. Whole food plant based is the term for healthy diets without animals.

Quite why people get so annoyed with other people’s diets, or take such an interest, is beyond me!

Vegans can get all their nutrients from plants but due to the land use, all people need to supplement B12, unless you eat an animal that has been supplemented it.

Hetty58 Sat 11-Jan-20 11:10:55

Harrigran, I haven't eaten meat for 54 years, had four kids and never a problem with iron deficiency.

There's plenty in green veg and dried fruit, beans, nuts and cocoa. We just need vitamin C with it to aid absorption, that's all.

Deficiency is more related to bad diets.

Hetty58 Sat 11-Jan-20 11:15:24

Nutritional yeast for B12, easy peasy. The people who seem to think they 'need' meat are just looking for excuses to justify continuing on eating it!

ExperiencedNotOld Sun 12-Jan-20 21:45:05

I ate what would be a vegan meal (Chana dhal, rice and chopped salad with yogurt) tonight but I’m not a vegan. I’m just someone making their own choices about what to eat and when. Is this new enthusiasm just a fad being driven by maketing or is a genuine ethical choice being exercised? My jury is out but I would recommend those near and dear to me look carefully at their intake to ensure best nutrition.
What I do fail to understand is the idea (perhaps more held by those adopting the fad) that buying a preprepared (for example) jackfruit something or other is being ’green’. Jackfruit must be imported, it cant be grown in the UK, the over salted and sugared flavoured sauces are produced industrially, plastic is used to wrap, cardboard to package them miles added whilst being in various types of storage throughout the delivery and sales chain.
How does that stack up against locally produced vegetables and meat from the local abattoir?

notanan2 Sun 12-Jan-20 22:29:21

Everybody is naturally chosing lighter choices after indulging in heavy foods and treats over Christmas. Many of those meals will be incidentally vegan.

Vegan food is refreshing after digesting a load of meat and cheese over Christmas

pinkquartz Sun 12-Jan-20 23:00:46

Yeast didn't work for me as a vitamin and health substitute as I am properly allergic to all yeast, and funghi

Despite eating lots of Tofu and healthy veg I got very ill.

There is not a diet that fits every person that is a fact.
I stuck at it for three years out of stubbornness and the belief it was morally better........but it is not better.

The meals in supermarkets are definitely not going to be healthy.....they are there to make corporations rich. Not to help vegans.

And it gets hard really reading every label.
I avoid wheat and gluten and for a Christmas Treat I bought some Glutenfree mince pies. I had allergic responses 12 hours later....Carefully rereading the label I spotted Wheat amongst Glucose Syrup , contains wheat, It was in small print and because underneath was written allergens in Bold type I thought Wheat would be in bold type. It was not. Because the supermarket told me, it is not made to do so by law. Only 14 allergens are in Bold type.
So be careful.
I had no idea that wheat was hidden inside Glucose Syrup....it wasn't much but enough for me to have an allergic response.
It is impossible to really read every label while shopping it takes ages and a good magnifying glass as the print gets smaller.

janeainsworth Sun 12-Jan-20 23:22:34

Yet our hospitals are packed with meat eaters

Razzy that’s because meat eaters make up 97% of the population.
If more than 3% of hospital patients were vegetarian or vegan, that would suggest that vegetarian or vegan diets were associated with higher rates of hospital admissions, wouldn’t it?
www.vegsoc.org/info-hub/facts-and-figures/

vegansrock Mon 13-Jan-20 04:58:42

Meat eating is not necessary healthy if it includes cheap processed burgers, sausages, pies etc, lots of illnesses, obesity, diabetes etc caused by poor diets. Vegans who are concerned about the provenance of their food are not going to be flocking to Greggs. So labelling one way of eating healthy and another way unhealthy is an overgeneralisation and misleading.

harrigran Mon 13-Jan-20 08:17:49

I often have a vegetarian dish when eating in a restaurant, I have had some interesting meals. The other day I had crispy celariac, it was delicious but was very expensive (£17.50) for two postage stamp sized pieces of vegetable.