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Vegan Cheese Substitutes

Are artificial cheese substitutes healthy. The ingredients list looks dubious.

Sorry if this isn't the correct forum for the question.

mneola
Many vegan cheese substitutes

Many vegan cheese substitutes can have a long list of ingredients, lack fiber, and be heavily processed making them poor choices when it relates to nutrient-density. They can be used in small amounts to help replace regular cheese as a transition food while getting used to not having dairy-based cheese. However, there are a number of cheese substitutes now on the market that are made with more recognizable ingredients like cashews that can be used in small amounts keeping in line with a low-fat diet. For more cheese swap ideas, you might enjoy reading Dr. Barnard's new book "The Cheese Trap" available on amazon and our online store at pcrm.org/shop

Hope that helps!
Maggie Neola, RD
Physicians Committee

Maggie Neola

Jeff the Chef
Fat intake

Dr. Barnard has inspired me the most of all the plant based/vegan doctors. I saw the release of the book and I couldn't wait until I could buy it. In the meantime, on YouTube I saw the video you and he made. I just got the book.

As he has consistently done, he discusses the problem of too much fat in the diet, particularly animal and saturated fats. He also has cautioned us about eating too many plant fats. I'm surprised how much fat is in these recipes. Specifically, there are many recipes with coconut butter, high not only in total fat and calories, but particularly in saturated fat. Dr. McDougall and Dr. Gregor have warned us about coconut oil. While coconut butter isn't as fatty as oil, it still is very high.

I wonder how we can incorporate these recipes into our daily diet without getting above 10%-15% of our calories from fat. After going off and on with lowfat veganism from May 2014, I've been as vegan as possible since January 1, 2017. It's difficult in Japan knowing everything you're eating. Since April 13, only on a few occasions modest amounts oil or nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, and soy and as close as much to the Mary's Mini-McDougall Diet in order to lower my weight, cholesterol, and triglycerides. For me, cheese was the hardest to give up, followed by oil and butter, eggs, and then fish.

I've gone from 83.4 kg in May 2014 to 81.0 kg in January 2017, albeit on a roller coaster. Since then, to 72.3 today in a steady slope. My goal is 68.0 kg. My cholesterol and triglycerides haven't improved much until April, but let's see in a week after today's results. They're my main concerns.

mneola
Hi Jeff,

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for sharing your story. You're right that many of the recipes in the book are high in fat.. The cheese recipes are parallel to veggie burgers, veggie dogs, and soy ice cream. These foods are a first-step approach for some people to adopting a nutrient-packed, whole-food, vegan diet. Some people can go low-fat right away whereas others need a transition and substitutes to get started. It’s designed for people who feel “hooked” on cheese and the standard American diet.

When weight loss and improvements in lipid levels are main goals, a low-fat, plant-based approach is optimal. It sounds like you're doing a great job of following that with minimal amounts of high fat, whole plant-based foods.

Thanks,
Maggie Neola, RD
Physicians Committee

Maggie Neola

auntieCarrot
Vegan Cheese Substitutes

Thank you Maggie, that helped. I've been vegan almost 2 years now--with no dairy. But, lately I've been seeing so many products offered at local health stores and, although I've avoided them, wondered if they were worth trying. After seeing the list of ingredients, it just didn't seem worth it. Things like starch and different oils, plus xanthan gum, tricalcium phosphate confuse me. I don't know if xanthan gum is even healthy although I see it a lot even sold alone. (Is it?)

mneola
A good general rule of thumb

A good general rule of thumb is if it has a long list of ingredients that most people wouldn't recognize, then it's likely a highly processed food that shouldn't make up the bulk of one's diet. Whole foods are more nutrient-dense and healthful. Xantham gum is simply an emulsifier often used in gluten-free baking, salad dressings, ice creams, etc. I'd be more concerned with the large amounts of oil and highly refined ingredients in processed foods. Thanks for asking!

Maggie Neola, RD
Physicians Committee

Maggie Neola

auntieCarrot
Vegan Cheese Substitutes

Oh yes, I agree that the shorter the ingredient list, the more reliably healthy the item. So, I'm guessing that with all the "vegan" choices in the dairy case, there are no good choices available for a cheese substitute. It's always a learning process. I will continue to use the nutritional yeast.

mneola
You may be surprised and find

You may be surprised and find some that are made with just a few ingredients like almonds or cashews! Even so, be mindful of serving size since they're often a little high in fat. When in doubt, nutritional yeast is a great choice!

Maggie Neola, RD
Physicians Committee

Maggie Neola

Jane C
Just starting diet

HI, I am just starting out on this journey. I have been vegetarian for sometime now I am ready to take the leap to be a Vegan.

mneola
That's awesome, Jane! We are

That's awesome, Jane! We are excited for you.

Maggie Neola, RD
Physicians Committee

Maggie Neola

Jeff the Chef
Fat in dairy-free cheesecake.

I definitely plan on getting The Cheese Trap. Meanwhile, I looked at Dreena Burton's blog at the Dairy-Free Cheesecake. It has 498 calories and 31g fat, mostly because of the coconut butter. I'm surprised as Dr. Barnard advocates a lowfat diet.

CarrotTopsRGreen
Cheese

As I have quite a bit of weight to lose, for now I am regretfully going to have to pass on trying any of these items. I am really hoping to lose a few pounds on the Kickstart.

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