Are Vegan Meat Substitutes as Healthy as Whole Foods?

Are you interested in going vegan or at least increasing your intake of plant-based foods? If so, you’re not alone. Though the concept of veganism isn’t new, it’s exploded in popularity in recent years. 

Not only is a plant-based diet great for your health, but it can also help lower your carbon footprint - which is a growing concern for many these days. 

If you’re someone who struggles with the idea of completely giving up meat or you simply like trying new vegan options, you’re likely very intrigued by vegan meat substitutes. After all, who isn’t interested in trying a plant-based burger that actually tastes like meat?

Burgers get the most attention, but there’s an ever-expanding list of vegan meat substitutes out there. You’ve likely seen them while out shopping, in advertisements, or on fast food and sit down restaurant menus.

On the surface, these products seem pretty healthy. After all, there’s no meat in them yet they taste just like the real thing! It’s the best of both worlds for those who want to go vegan but don’t want to give up the taste of meat. 

Vegan meat substitutes might not contain meat, but do you actually know what they’re made of? Believe it or not, more than $100 million dollars went into the development of these meat-alternatives to genetically engineer alternative ingredients into the right flavor and textures to mimic meat. With whole foods, every ingredient came straight from mother nature with no processing and no genetic engineering. 

This is why it’s so important to know what you’re putting into your body. The food choices you make will have a direct impact on your ability to achieve your desired weight, your ability to absorb nutrients, your energy levels and even your mood.

Going Plant-based/Vegan Is Good

Meat is known as a great source of protein, but remember that plants provide protein, too. In fact, they're rich in proteins, fiber, phytonutrients, and minerals. If you’re on the fence about making the switch, consider the benefits of a plant-based diet:

  1. Weight Loss: This, after all, is one of the main reasons veganism has risen in popularity. On average, vegans tend to be thinner and have lower BMIs than those who have non-vegan diets. Studies also show that plant-baseddiets are extremely effective for weight loss.
  2. More Nutrients: Switching to a vegan diet means relying more on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and seeds. By doing so, you'll automatically be consuming more fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and other beneficial nutrients.
  3. Lower Risk of Disease: Vegan diets result in lower blood sugar levels, significantly decreasing the risk of diabetes. A vegan diet also lowers your risk of dying from cancer and lowers your chances of heart disease.

Being vegan is also beneficial to the world as a whole. Meat is not only very resource-intensive, but livestock emissions make up almost 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

But It’s All About Ingredients

A vegan diet comprised of whole foods is very healthy, but adding vegan meat substitutes to your diet is another story. 

The concept of imitation meat has evolved over the years, with newer products benefiting from food technology developments that make them very realistic in terms of taste, appearance, and even texture. Some of the more popular vegan burger options are even juicy in the same way real beef patties are.

This is where things become problematic for vegan meat alternatives. Although they are plant-based, many have been manufactured with potentially unhealthy additives in order to make them more desirable.

Vegan meat substitutes are generally highly-processed foods that make use of genetically modified ingredients to get that meaty texture. If a vegan hotdog contains fillers and artificial ingredients, there's nothing particularly healthy about it. Sure, it's vegan, but is it really any different than any other processed foods you're trying to avoid?

Sodium, Fat, and More

The amount of sodium, fat, and calories in these vegan meat substitutes have many people wondering if they’re actually any better than regular meat. In fact, vegan meat burgers often contain more salt than meat burgers.

If you’re interested in adding vegan meat substitutes to your diet, you must be aware of all that comes with this change. Just because these items are vegan doesn’t mean you’re getting the nutrients your body needs on a day to day basis. 

Just like other processed foods, vegan meats should be eaten mindfully. Anyone who wants to maintain a healthy diet must be aware of their caloric intake, as well as how much salt and fat is in their diet. 

For those who like to participate in clean eating and doing periodic juice cleanses, vegan meat substitutes should be avoided completely. They frequently contain many of the processed toxins a cleanse should be getting rid of, so eating vegan meats would be counter-productive.

The Bottom Line

Vegan meat substitutes are not as healthy as whole foods. Many people go vegan to cut processed foods out of their diets, so why let them creep back into your fridge just because they’re plant-based?

That said, it’s perfectly fine to enjoy meat alternatives on special occasions. But some of these alternatives are healthier than others, just like most food products. Do your research ahead of time to ensure you know what you’re introducing to your body.

It’s also important to note that many cleanses don’t permit vegan meat alternatives for many of the reasons described above. If you’re starting a cleanse, like the 7-Day Juice Cleanse from Smart Pressed Juice, it’s essential to stick to whole foods.

Whether you want to completely phase meat out of your diet or just want to lower your meat consumption, Smart Pressed Juice can help. Our Vegan Vanilla Proteini delivers the perfect dose of 16g of superfood protein with only 100 calories and just 5 g of carbohydrates.

Unlike vegan meat substitutes, our Proteini contains no fillers, dairy, gluten, soy, or artificial ingredients. You'll get 10 nutrient-packed superfoods with each serving, powering your day and activating your daily detox.

For more SMART lifestyle tips like this, visit and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, or like us on Facebook. You can also visit our Amazon store to stock up on our delicious juices.