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It’s widely understood that you should avoid packaged food products whose nutrition labels read like a textbook. We’ve all seen ingredients like Butylated HydroxyAnisole, Titanium Dioxide, and Xantham Gum, and wondered what these names mean and whether or not it is a good thing to eat. 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. But, of course, not all processed foods are created equal.

If you are trying your best to eat healthy, clean foods and are also avoiding meat and dairy, navigating the frozen and packaged food aisles of the grocery store can be a highly conflicting experience. You know meat has been associated with cancer risk and heart disease, but when you turn over a package of plant-based burgers, the ingredient list is filled with “protein isolates,” “tocopherols,” and a number of other things you can’t pronounce. If you can’t discern what exactly is in the packaged alternative, how can you tell if it is indeed better for you?

In a recent episode of #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias, renowned registered dietician, Brenda Davis, gets to the bottom of all of these questions – and a whole lot more. She explains what to look out for in processed foods and which ingredients are especially harmful to our health. Brenda pits bacon against plant-based meat alternatives and goes into detail about why, based on lengthy population studies, we need to be more concerned about consuming processed meat than we do processed plant-based alternatives. 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.

This is the ultimate conversation for anyone who is interested in nutrition, and it is especially helpful for people in the food industry who are looking to make a healthy product – without cutting any nutritional corners – that also tastes great. 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!

Are Processed Vegan Foods Harmful? Expert Dietician Reveals the Truth

You can listen to the full episode below or on the following platforms: iTunesGoogle PlaySpotifyStitcher.

If you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast for new episodes with food industry leaders, health, and sustainability experts, as well as entrepreneurs and creative minds who are redefining the future of food.


Image source: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

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2 comments on “Are Processed Vegan Foods Harmful? Expert Dietician Reveals the Truth”

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Baz Moreno
5 Months Ago

Vegan processed foods are still junkfood! Tastes great! But if you like the taste of meat and depend on manufacturers to feed you, you are damaging your body. Vegan, organic and other abused words are misleading the masses. People are interesting because it is easier to defend the life an animal and dress a dog than it is to protect or clothe a human. I have about 35 years without meat, but I will not sacrifice my life to save an animal. There are better reasons to avoid eating meat. We can start with the presence of fecal matter, perhaps. But saying you don\'t eat meat because it\'s cruel is like saying you joined the police force to \'protect and serve\' opposed to needing a job.

5 Months Ago

IIIII think some of the bigger issues here iis how harmful some of the ingredients are to the environment like palm oil, all these companies that claim to be sustainable and aren\'t and primates & other animals are being butchered to extinction and Indigenous peoples terrorized and thrown off their lands for these plantations. There are also faddish specialty foods that are excellent grains like quinoa which now popular have escalated where the poor people in the area it comes from can\'t even ford a mainstay dish. There has to be some trade off where they still can eat what is a staple to them without paying more.


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