Do you think vegans are healthier? Are they? Not so long ago, vegans were mostly hippies who ate nuts and berries and lived in places like San Francisco, California. Well not anymore. Professional athletes are vegans. Celebrities are vegans. Your next-door neighbor is a vegan. You may be a vegan. According to the online dictionary, vegan is a person who does not eat or use animal products. No dairy, eggs, honey, or any other products of animal origin. I’m not a vegan but I consume mostly plant-based foods.
Popular Vegan Restaurant
I’m asking this question “if vegans are healthier” because of a popular vegan restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s a 100% plant-based burger eatery. I don’t know how many customers are vegans but people wait in line 4 or more hours, I repeat 4 or more hours, to buy plant-based burgers with provocative names such as One Night Stand, Dancehall Queen, and Super Slut. Vegan hot dogs and vegan shrimp are also on the menu.
I enjoy trying new foods and immediately said yes when a dear friend asked me to go with her to find out if the hype about this vegan food was justified. After a 2 hour wait in line, I ordered the Super Slut, a vegan burger with a side of crinkle-cut French fries. The Super Slut is an Impossible Burger patty loaded with guacamole, jalapeños, vegan cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and a slutty sauce on a vegan Hawaiian bun.
Sounds delicious right?
But is it healthy? Let’s find out.
*The calculations are estimates because I don’t know the brand names of each food item or exact portion sizes.
Step 1: I used Cronometer to break down the Super Slut calories, fats, protein, and carbs
Step 2: I calculated the percentage of total calories from fats, protein, and carbs
Note: A typical 1,500 calorie a day meal plan based on daily reference intake in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (3 meals a day)
33-58 grams of fat
46-56 grams of protein
90-130 grams of carbs
Restaurant vegan burger and French fries (Impossible Burger patty loaded with guacamole, jalapeños, vegan cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and a slutty sauce on a vegan Hawaiian bun)
56 grams of fat
39 grams of protein
114 grams of carbs
Wow! One meal at a vegan restaurant is nearly a day’s worth of calories, fat, protein, and carbs. Just because the restaurant serves vegan food doesn’t mean it’s “healthier” than restaurants serving animal protein such as chicken, fish, beef, pork, turkey, goat, eggs, etc.
How to Make Healthier Vegan Choices
- Skip the French fries. French fries are fried potatoes loaded with salt. Fried foods are higher in fat and sodium. Choose a plain baked potato instead or no fries.
- Share the meal or divide in half and eat the other half at lunch the following day.
- Fill half your plate with a variety of vegetables. If your vegan you should eat more vegetables.
- Create your own meal/vegan burger. Request no sauce or cheese and add more lettuce or tomatoes. You’re the consumer. Ask for what you want!
Use these tips at any restaurants not only vegan restaurants.
If you’re interested in veganism or how plant-based diets may reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer or premature death check out these websites for more information