A vegan cake may be healthier for the environment and it may contain fewer saturated fats than a non-vegan cake but it’s not a health food and shouldn’t be eaten too often. However a slice of vegan cake is healthier than having two slices of vegan cake.
Is a vegan cake healthy? Never! While a vegan diet can be very healthy from some perspectives, it can also be just as unhealthy as any other diet. The key is always a balanced diet which means don’t eat cake too often like me!
When I’m asked if a vegan cake is healthy, I can’t help but blurt out “it’s broccoli in disguise!”. To me there is very little difference in asking if food is healthy, it all depends on the ingredients. Vegan cakes, like normal cakes are an indulgence that contain relatively high amounts of sugar. While it’s true that our vegan cakes generally contain fewer saturated fats than our non-vegan cakes as they are egg less and dairy-free, they are still to be treated as an indulgence – the very thing they are designed to be.
Vegan cakes are one example of unhealthy vegan foods, but there are many more that should be considered unhealthy:
French fries: Deep fried and covered in salt and often nowadays baked in nut oil they are hardly healthy.
Crisps: Like French fries, it shouldn’t come as a massive surprise that they aren’t healthy. You may find healthier crisps than others but I’ve never encountered a bag to replace one of my five a day.
Packaged granola bars – a friend recently told me that he was eating one every day until he read the packet… packed full with sugar, more so than the average chocolate bar.
In the article “Can Vegans eat Cake” we defined different types of vegans, one such being a raw vegan. If you were to buy a raw-vegan cake (which in my opinion bears no relation to a traditional cake) they are likely to be quite healthy unless there are hidden ingredients to make them cake-like. Recall the truth about the trojan salads containing more calories than a burger! That said there are vegan cheesecakes aka raw vegan cakes that appear to contain very similar amounts of sugar to a conventional vegan cake.
Again, it all depends on the ingredients used. Vegan cakes, like non-vegan cakes, use a mix of calorific ingredients that don’t help your daily calorie intake. There is a consensus among nutritionists that there is little difference in the calories between dairy and vegan dairy alternatives. For example, equal amount of milk and soy milk have a difference of just 2 calories. If you search for low calorie desserts or cakes you will notice the majority of recipes report the calorie content based on a ridiculously small portion; in reality most people would end up eating five or six portions. If you are trying to avoid additional calories but still want your slice of cake, you can’t have it, but you can take a smaller serving and feel just a bit better!
Ultimately, one shouldn’t ask if a certain group of food is healthy, like vegan cake, but establish whether or not it is healthy by examining the ingredients. If you read “healthy vegan cake” on a recipe or a cake I suggest being highly dubious. With all that said, if you are eating a slice of vegan cake on your birthday as a special treat while maintaining a balanced diet, I’m quite sure you will survive!