Many people automatically believe that plant-based or vegan meat alternatives are healthier than traditional hot dogs and, in general, this is the case. However, there can be variations to this. Keep reading to learn more about them, and see if vegan hotdogs are healthy or not.
The base of most vegan hotdogs is soy-protein, however, some may be made primarily with pea protein. Other ingredients often include wheat gluten, sugar, coconut oil, sodium and cellulose. There are also often a variety of spices and often artificial flavors as well. Some brands will add natural smoke like Moving Mountains, Tofurky, and Field Roast. It is important to check the ingredients of any plant-based hotdogs as some brands include egg, and are thus not vegan.
The process for making vegan hotdogs is very similar to making regular hotdogs. Manufacturers simply use plant-based ingredients instead. The “meat” is made from combining the protein (soy, pea, wheat, etc.) with spices and artificial flavors. This is then packaged into cellulose tubes and cut into a hotdog size.
Most vegan hotdogs are healthier than meat-based alternatives due to lower calories, no cholesterol, and almost no saturated fat. As well, they are not using animal scraps. Now, while this seems good, vegan hotdogs are made of highly processed soy. This means they contain less fiber and vitamins than unprocessed soy products. Overall, vegan hotdogs are quite processed, and while they are low in fat, they are high in sugar. However, as an occasional food, they aren’t too bad for you, as they do offer some protein and are healthier than the meat alternative.
Vegetables like spinach, lettuce, beetroot, and celery all contain nitrates, which are a natural chemical found in water, air, and earth. Often nitrates are used in meat products as a food additive to increase shelf life and make food look better. As vegan hotdogs contain no meat, they will not contain nitrates. However, if a vegan hotdog brand contains leafy greens in the ingredients list, there will be traces of nitrates.
Most vegan foods are thought of as tasteless. However, in the modern era of vegan food, this is almost never the case. Most vegan hotdogs contain natural smoke and a range of spices to help replicate the taste of a regular hotdog. The texture of most vegan hotdogs is super similar to that of a regular hotdog. This is because both products are processed.
Vegan hotdogs will last longer in your fridge than regular hotdogs. This is simply because they contain no animal products. In fact, most will last at least 3 months before they expire. However, if you open a packet it is best to consume them within 5-7 days.
As they are meat-free and plant-based it is safe to eat them uncooked. However, they will definitely taste better and have a better texture when cooked.
Overall, when it comes to answering the question of “are Vegan hotdogs healthy?” The answer is yes with caveats. They are healthier than regular hotdogs but are not as healthy a food as raw vegetables. Vegan hotdogs are best to be consumed occasionally, rather than on a regular basis. This is primarily due to the lack of nutritional value in them, and their highly processed nature. All highly processed foods, vegan or not, contain substantial amounts of sodium and sugar, which isn’t great for your health. Consider eating whole foods alongside your vegan hotdogs to boost the nutritional value of the meal.