Get Ready for Fat Vegans

October 11, 2019
by Kevin RR Williams

As a vegetarian, I laud the environmental advantages of replacing chicken and steer meat.

Vegetarian Fast Food For the Masses

A small part of me dies inside whenever I hear of a fast-food chain offering plant-based meat. The junk food that overtook the world, ushering in obesity, is now reaching the waists of vegetarians and vegans. It is not enough to ruin the health of indiscriminate eaters. Now, those who are arguably the more health-conscious are lowering their guard for a sodium-rich, sugar-infused meatless patty with processed cheese, french fries, and soda pop.

Restaurants with plant-based versions of long-standing favorites:
  • A&W Canada
  • Burger King
  • Carl’s Jr.
  • Del Taco
  • Dunkin’
  • Fatburger
  • Hard Rock Cafe
  • KFC
  • Little Caesars
  • McDonald’s (Germany)
  • Qdoba
  • Red Robin
  • Shake Shack
  • TGI Fridays
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Unami Burger
  • White Castle
  • Even Mendocino Farms—a health-conscious sandwich chain—is dabbling with a seasonal Impossible Burger. It is not that it is unhealthy; it just tastes odd—like biting into spaghetti and marinara (with its tomato-based vegan cheese). Noticing my befuddlement, the manager kindly exchanged it for a tempeh sandwich. Don’t get me wrong. As a vegetarian, I laud the environmental advantages of replacing chicken and steer meat. Higher-end restaurants that respect the ingredients can elevate the flavor. I might even convince myself to believe that the accessibility of ubiquitous vegetarian options has a few benefits. To a busines taking on debt or investors, a contract with a nationwide customer is applauded. But convenience has its disadvantages.

    Contribution to Obesity

    Fast food restaurants incorporate their individual flavor within meat and buns. Usually, this means combo meals are loaded with simple carbo­hy­drates, having little to no fiber. White bread from ultra-refined flour with extra sauces, fries or chips, and sugary beverages often add up to meal deals exceeding recommended daily allowances. Sodium, sugar, and calories are off the charts. The close proximity and relatively low cost of junk food attracts more customers and discourages home-cooked meals, contributing to obesity.

    In his exposé on the illusion of choice in fast food restaurants, Chase Purdy concludes: “When the customer isn’t able to make a good choice, fast food restaurants have stepped into help make that choice for them. The choice often isn’t between healthy and unhealthy: It’s between small amounts of unhealthy foods and large amounts of unhealthy food.”

    Read more free articles and view references with A Bit More Healthy news­letter subscription.

    You must be a logged in subscriber for full access. If recently logged in, manually refresh page for more content.

    If logged in, manually refresh page for more content.

    Kevin Williams is a health advocate and writer of hundreds of articles for multiple websites, including: A Bit More Healthy, KevinMD, and Sue’s Nutrition Buzz.