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The Reality Of Ultra Processed Vegan Food Is Falsely Displayed On Social Media.

Updated: Oct 2, 2022

The reality of processed vegan food

As the month approached, it was my turn to fill the groceries for the whole month. Generally, I avoid buying in bulk, but since this month seemed occupied, and certainly, I was bereft of an option. On reaching the supermarket, I saw a whole new shelf for the vegan snacks, including plant-based milk and meat substitutes. Though I am a vegetarian, I looked through this corner. It is always compulsive watching new brands and their packaging for me. But as I checked their nutrition, it was shocking to see the ingredients. I pulled up the working chair as soon as I got home, and without thinking twice, I decided what I would write next. So here I am with this article on the so-called Ultra Processed Vegan Food. Through it, I intend for you to get a brief idea of these foods, so that when you buy them next time, you have everything got in your mind. As I always urged you, read the in-depth information and then choose the one best suited for you. Following are the topics covered here:

Expand to see the sections.

Ultra-processed Foods

List of Ultra Processed Vegan Food Market Share & Rise In Consumption Deadly Effects Of Consuming them Healthy Swap Options Closing

What Are Ultra-Processed Foods?

Before we approach the ultra processed vegan food options, let us first understand the term. Also, to avoid confusion, let us also go on processed foods and the difference. I am taking an example first for clarity. Suppose you have a farmhouse and fresh cow milk is directly supplied to your kitchen, then it falls under the regular milk category. Now, when you buy pasteurized, canned, and refrigerated cow milk from supermarket stores, it refers to as processed milk. However, if you see oat milk or quinoa milk with various operations and added nutrients or emulsifiers, they fall under ultra-processed foods.

A glass of milk placed next to almonds
A glass of milk placed next to almonds © Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

To summarize, processed foods constitute a slight alteration of the original food before consumption. Canning, storing, pasteurizing, or heating all come under this. Whereas ultra-processed foods, a term first introduced by a Brazilian nutrition researcher, Carlos A. Monteiro, in a 2009 paper broke processed foods into a classification called NOVA. According to them, these foods are industrial formulations with five or more ingredients. Another study from 2016 examining how prevalent they are in the American diet; calls these formulations that

“include substances not usually used in culinary preparations besides salt, sugar, oils, and fats.”

They are rich in salt and sugar because they add flavors. Additionally, these include foods containing additives (texturizers, dyes, emulsifiers, etc.) such as textured soy protein foods, quinoa, corn, or other cereals, legumes, or pulses, as well as plant-based beverages made from soy, almond, or rice.

However, these are yet to be categorized furthermore and define themselves.

Nevertheless, many pieces of research show its effects that we are going to discuss in this article.

List Of Ultra Processed Vegan Food.

Before coming on the list of these items, I have a fact from the American Heart Association Trusted Source that recommends men to consume no more than nine teaspoons of sugar or 36 grams and women to 6 teaspoons or 25 grams per day. Now, let us move on to the items, ultra processed vegan food consists of.

  • sweetened breakfast cereals,

  • flavored potato chips,

  • frozen, blended coffee drink,

  • mashed potato flakes,

  • flavored granola bars with added sugar and preservatives,

  • artificially flavored vegan cheese crackers,

  • oat and the quinoa milk,

  • new plant-based meat and dairy substitutes.

An open packet of wafers
An open packet of wafers © The Organic Crave Company / Unsplash

Steps to recognize the Ultra-processed foods-

  1. Check at least five ingredients in that long list of ingredients.

  2. Try to compare them with the home ingredients used to cook. And if they include canola oil or harmful components, drop them.

  3. Check the percentage of salt or sugar in them. Consider the additives, preservatives, colors, chemicals, and sweeteners percentage. If they are comparatively higher, please do not bother buying them.

  4. At last, study the marketing tactics used. You can take help from this article. Nutrition bargains the marketing expenditure.

Now that you know these steps choose wisely.

Market Share Of Ultra Processed Vegan Food.

Checking the stats of the consumption of the ultra-processed food, they account for 56.8% of total energy intake among Britishers.

Among adults, only 28% eat the recommended amount of 5 portions of fruits and vegetables per day, while in children, only 18% do.

Bloomberg Intelligence reports a 451% growth in plant-based food sales by 2030 ($29 billion by 2020).

Global Plant Based Retail Market Size And Expected Growth
Global Plant Based Retail Market Size And Expected Growth © Bloomberg

Deadly Effects Of Consuming Them.

We finally landed on the favorite part of our article, where we will discuss the after-effects of consuming ultra processed vegan food.

The Cambridge University Obesity Expert Dr Giles says,

"So ultra-processed foods tend to be low in protein and fibre and high in salt sugar and fat. That is their problem."

Furthermore, he also said that using meat substitutes in the name of a health halo is dangerous and irrational. All of them contain a high amount of sodium and additives that are harmful to health. Going on, let us see the potential health hazards of these foods:

  • Deficient in essential macronutrients, such as amino acids.

  • Vegans are anaemic because of the lack of iron.

  • Obesity is common.

  • More prone to type 2 diabetes.

  • Deadly diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and cardiometabolic diseases.

  • Hypertension.

  • A higher level of triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (hyperlipidemia) are also applicable.

  • Increase crapshoot of overall cancer and particularly colorectal and prostate cancers.

  • Increased risk of developing gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, functional dyspepsia, constipation, and diarrhea

  • Asthma and wheezing.

  • It contributes to premature aging and mortality.

How can you swap them?

When it comes to precaution and choosing smart, you have to stop letting your mind get influenced by phrases such as Eat Healthy Filled with Proteins, Vegan, Plant-Based, Animal Cruelty-Free, etc. Once you choose over them, you are safe.

A girl protesting for sustainable movement
A girl protesting for sustainable movement © Chuko Cribb / Unsplash

Still, I have a list of options to make you choose the best food over these-

  • Always prefer fortified foods with the right minerals and vitamins if you follow a plant-based diet.

  • Try to make dinner plans with your families at home and cook more often. Home meals are a lot healthier than any of these.

  • If you want to dine out, try to include at least half a plate of vegetables and soups. Include baked or grilled dishes instead of fried foods.

  • Kindly choose your health option, and do not swamp away from these health hypes. Do conscious buying instead of blind or manipulated buying.

  • You can check for easy healthy recipes. I found a perfect cookbook for you from nutrition expert- Simon Hill. Here is his website, where you can download his free cookbook.

  • Try to go for easy vegan desserts that have natural sugars. Once I find the 21 best of them, I will soon write an article dedicated to them.

  • Always keep fresh fruits, berries, and vegetables in your fridge for your mini hunger breaks.


Eating plant-based is a healthy choice, but omitting complete dairy products is impossible in my case. However, I appreciate the people who can eat so clean for ethical concerns and the environment. And so, I have a question for you- Why do we want to save the environment this way and not by planting more trees or driving fewer cars?

With the increased consumption of ultra processed vegan food, we will harm our planet and body. So, instead of following celebrities or influencers blindly, one must dive deep to choose the correct nutrition. Instead of choosing unhealthy vegan or junk vegan food, why not cook more at home?

Transformations happen with time and not overnight. Consuming these foods can not help you lose inches fast from your waist. Think about it and let me know what you think in the comments.

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