“Faux” Plant products are better for diet

Generally speaking, plant foods are less “calorie dense” than animal foods and if you’re trying to lose weight, reducing animal products can help.  Recently, I’d tried pointing this out to a friend who is trying to lose weight and they said something along the lines that “seitan” is roughly the same as “steak” (in terms of calories).  This got me wondering about the nutritional comparison of meat substitutes and other vegan “faux” products with the various animal products they’re meant to mimic, so I did a little research:

Seitan vs. Steak

    • Seitan  (3 oz) , Michael’s Savory, uncooked  {source}
      • Calories: 70 (may be more after cooking)
        • Cal. from fat: 0
      • Protein: 10g
      • Fat: 0
        • Saturated fat: 0
      • Cholesterol: 0
    • Sirloin Steak (3 oz), cooked   {source}
      • Calories: 210
        • Cal. from fat: 130
      • Protein: 20g
      • Fat: 14g
        • Saturated fat: 6g
      • Cholesterol: 70mg

Almond Yogurt vs. CowMilk Yogurt

    • Almond Greek-style Yogurt (170g), So Delicious brand “Plain”   {source – click “nutrition”}
      • Calories: 140
        • Cal. from fat: 40
      • Protein: 7g
      • Fat: 4.5g
        • Saturated fat: 0
      • Cholesterol: 0
    • Traditional Greek Yogurt (170g), Nancy’s Organic brand “Plain”   {source}
      • Calories: 160
        • Cal. from fat: 50
      • Protein: 6g
      • Fat: 7g
        • Saturated fat: 4.5g
      • Cholesterol: 30mg

Tapioca Cheese vs. CowMilk Cheese

    • Tapioca-based Mozzarella (28g), Daiya brand   {source}
      • Calories: 90
        • Cal. from fat: 60
      • Protein: 1g
      • Fat: 6g
        • Saturated fat: 2g
      • Cholesterol: 0
    • Traditional Mozzarella (28g), Boar’s Head brand   {source}
      • Calories: 90
        • Cal. from fat: 60
      • Protein: 6g
      • Fat: 7g
        • Saturated fat: 4.5g
      • Cholesterol: 20mg

So… the highly processed plant-based foods meant to mimic animal products are mostly better for losing or maintaining weight than their animal based counterparts.  Seitan body-slams steak; nut-based yogurt out-yells dairy yogurt; and tapioca-based cheese ekes a slight victory over dairy cheese in terms of total and saturated fat. And all plant foods have zero cholesterol.

For omnivores, replacing animal foods with plant foods (especially minimally processed or whole plant foods which are consistently less calorie-dense) is a good way to reduce your overall calorie intake without reducing the quantity of food eaten and a great way to cut down on cholesterol intake.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend vegan cheese as “healthy” but it’s certainly no worse for your health than cowmilk cheese.

Note: I am aware that there are low-fat and non-fat dairy products, but I’m not considering those for comparison as those use literally watered down versions of cow’s milk, so I trust that if/when demand for similar low-fat and non-fat vegan faux-dairy products arises, we’ll have similar (or better) low-fat and non-fat vegan versions.

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