Are you a vegan food junkie?

A veggie hot dog essentially has the same nutritional value of a regular hot dog.

Just because you have cut meat and animal products out of your diet doesn't necessarily mean you are eating healthier. There are still plenty of processed ingredients in many types of vegan products, as well as numerous junk food items that still meet vegetarian standards.

Sticking to a vegan diet has a number of health benefits, including weight loss, lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol. In order to maintain a well-balanced vegan diet, it's important to check food labels and nutritional facts to ensure you are getting the proper vitamins and minerals you need. Here's a list of five vegan food items that should be consumed sparingly.

Tofu
While tofu is a common staple for a vegan diet, there are still a number of types of tofu that are heavily processed, which can put a strain on your digestive system. The soybeans in tofu are an excellent source of protein, potassium and fiber; however, processed soy is found to contain high levels of estrogen. Consuming processed tofu daily can lead to a hormonal imbalance that can cause weight gain, mood swings and trouble sleeping at night. Make sure the tofu you are using is labeled organic, and moderate your weekly intake. 

White bread
While there are plenty of healthier options for bread, white bread is still one of the most popular choices and also the least nutritious. White bread is extremely processed and often contains high sugar and corn syrup concentrations. The lack of vitamins and minerals can block essential nutrients like calcium and iron from being absorbed by the body. Try to stick to wheat bread, and if you can find it, make sure the bread you are buying is gluten free as well.

Veggie meats
For many people, the hardest part of switching to a vegan diet is saying goodbye to all the meat. While some meat alternative products still have nutritional value, most of them, including veggie hot dogs, bacon and burgers, are packed with artificial ingredients such as processed soy and sugar. These items are generally not any healthier than a regular hot dog or burger, so it's wise to eat these alternatives rarely to avoid excess fats and carbohydrates. 

Processed cheeses
Vegan cheeses are dairy-free, but some are still not free of saturated fats and artificial ingredients. Too much of these types of cheeses will send your stomach through a loop of inflammation and indigestion. Check the labels to make sure the cheese is unprocessed for a healthier solution.

Protein powders
While adding powders to your drinks will boost up your protein, there are still a number of products on the market that are tainted with sugars and artificial flavors. These unnecessary ingredients will weigh down your stomach and cause bloating and gas. Instead, go for a VeganSmart All-In-One Nutritional Shake that has all the protein you need along with 22 other essential vitamins and minerals.

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