Discover the truth about plant-based foods

‘Plant-based’ claims are the latest marketing ploy that irks me. 

Research supporting the health benefits of plant-based and plant rich diets points to the value of eating more whole plant foods: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, lentils and grains. 

A plant rich diet is brilliant for great health but unfortunately manufacturers are trying to trick you into buying products that are not.

 

image saying plant-basedprocessed fake foods are unhealthy

plant-based junk food

I really want you to eat more vegetables, fruit and other plant based foods but fabricated manufactured 'plant-based' foods are not what I want you to eat.

The research does not support the use of manufactured foods using extracted or refined ‘plant ingredients’.

Think about this. All of the following are derived from plants but none are nutritional gems: sugar, white flour, maltodextrin, rice flour, maize starch and modified starch.

Be wary of manufactured foods advertised or labeled with a plant emphasis: vegan friendly, dairy-free, non-dairy, animal-free, made with plants, plant rich, suitable for vegetarians, plant-only, meat-free … there are many word variations.

An emphasis on plants only (and, by virtue, animal-free) on a food label does not mean healthier for you. There are loads of animal-free processed food products, organic or not, too high in simple sugars, sodium salt and saturated fat. They offer you no nutritional or health benefits at all.

  • A plant-based vegan ice cream is not better for you than regular ice cream or gelato.
  • A bag of potato crisps (or any vegetable chip) doesn’t become healthier because of a vegan friendly logo.
  • A plant-based pie is a fatty and salty package. The presence of plants doesn't make it less of a junk food.
  • A loaf of white bread ‘suitable for vegetarians’ is not healthier than wholemeal bread.

 

for health benefits start in the fresh produce section

If you really want to embrace plant-based eating to gain health benefits, start in the fresh produce section.

  • Eat at least 500 g of vegetables and fruit each and every day. That’s where the health benefits start. If you can hit 800 g a day, even better in terms of risk reduction for diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
  • Eat a bigger variety of genuine whole plant foods. In other words, don’t stick with the same few vegetables and fruits.
  • Make sure you include leafy greens like spinach, silverbeet, vine leaves, cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, and Asian greens such as bok choy.
  • When fresh vegetables are in short supply or when prices are high and quality low, like they are now due to extreme weather conditions, head to the freezer section to top up with plain fresh-frozen vegetables: greens (peas, beans, edamame, broccoli, kale, spinach), white (cauliflower), orange and yellow (corn and carrot), mixed (Asian style, Mediterranean mix, winter mix). Whilst some frozen vegetables may not have the same taste and texture as fresh versions, frozen vegetables are a no-waste, no-prep, fast, convenient and economical option for home cooking.

P.S. You don’t need to give up animal products to gain the health benefits of a plant-based diet. You do need to eat enough real plant foods. To deliver health benefits, both animal-free and animal-inclusive diets need to be rich in a wide variety of real whole plant foods, not filled with fabricated processed foods. Plant-based marketing is misleading.

Thank you Trudy! A sign of appreciation

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