They are billed as healthy and environmentally friendly.
But much meat-free food is highly processed and full of salt, according to a damning report.
A study by researchers from the National Heart Foundation in Australia looked at the salinity in more than 560 alternative meat products on the supermarket shelves.
On average, it discovered that vegan sausages were full of more salt than their meat alternatives. The results showed that they contained 1.3 g of salt per 100 g – more than a third of the recommended daily allowance of an adult.
Falafel – a trendy alternative to meat favored by the health conscious person – also had 1.3 g of salt per 100 g.
Two slices of meat-free bacon contain only slightly less salt (2 g per 100 g) than their traditional pork counterparts (2.8 g per 100 g).
On average, vegan sausages contain more salt than their meat alternatives (per 100 g, pictured) and contain more than one third of the recommended daily allowance of an adult
Meanwhile, vegan burgers contain 20 percent more salt than the average steak patty per 100 g (pictured)
Meanwhile, vegan burgers contain 20 percent more salt than the average steak patty.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends no more than one teaspoon of salt or about 5 grams every day.
Salt found in processed foods contributes to high blood pressure, an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Worldwide, CVD causes an estimated 31 percent of deaths and 17.9 million a year.
People have a high blood pressure risk of CVD because it puts extra strain on blood vessels and the heart.
The condition, known as hypertension, affects more than one in four adults in the UK and one in three in the US, according to official statistics.
Falafel – a trendy alternative to meat that is favored by the health-conscious person – received on average more than a quarter of the total daily amount of an adult (per 100 grams, shown)
Two slices of meat-free bacon (about 100 g) contain only slightly less salt than their traditional pork counterparts. But they were still good for more than a third of the recommended daily amount of salt
Consuming too much salt increases the amount of sodium in the blood, thereby retaining fluid in the body, resulting in higher blood pressure.
The popularity of meat-free diets has increased, with around 1.7 million people in Britain now avoiding meat.
Britons, especially young adults, have gone from red meat for animal welfare and environmental reasons.
Many are unhappy about intensive farming, the living conditions of animals and slaughter. Livestock farming also produces large quantities of greenhouse gases related to climate change.
WHAT IS CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE?
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels.
It is usually associated with an accumulation of fat deposits in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis.
It can also be associated with damage to arteries in organs such as the brain, heart, kidneys, and eyes.
CVD is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the UK, and the cause of 31 percent of deaths worldwide, statistics show.
There are many different types of CVD, but the four main types are coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and aortic diseases.
According to the WHO, four out of five deaths from CVD are due to heart attacks and strokes.
More than 75 percent of deaths from CVD occur in low and middle income countries.
The exact cause of CVD is not clear, but there are many risk factors. The most important are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, too much alcohol, diabetes, inactivity and obesity.
The more risk factors you have, the greater the chance that you will get CVD. The risk also increases with age – it is most common in people over 50 – if you are male, or if you have a South Asian, African or Caribbean background.
It is recommended to follow a balanced diet, with the addition of regular exercise, to ensure a healthy heart, including sufficient fruits and vegetables and low levels of salt, sugar and fat.
The move has tripled the sale of meat-free products in supermarkets in less than ten years.
Sainsbury & # 39; s, Waitrose, Tesco and Iceland have more than 100 & # 39; meatless & # 39; products on their shelves, while fast food companies are also starting to cash in on money.
The report, conducted with The George Institute for Global Health, based in London, and VicHealth, discovered that the highest salt product per serving was the vegan Bean Supreme Laksa pie.
The cake contained 50 percent of the recommended daily salt intake of an adult (2.5 g of salt) per slice.
On average, flavored tofu contained almost 12 times more salt than regular tofu.
Kellie-Ann Jolly, Victoria Chief Executive Officer of Heart Foundation, said that although the growing number of people who chose plant-based foods was positive, it is important that consumers focus on the quality and sources of the products.
She added: Sommige Some can be very processed and have a nutrient deficiency. Meat alternatives such as tofu and falafel can be good protein sources as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
& # 39; But for all processed or packaged foods it is crucial not to rely on words or images that make a product appear healthier than it is. Check the label and choose the less salty option. & # 39;
George Institute's senior nutritionist and the report's lead author, Clare Farrand, said she was concerned about the findings.
& # 39; It is worrying that there has been no change in the salt levels in the other meat products that we have viewed in almost ten years, and that new products entering the market contain so much salt, despite the government's commitment to population salt intake, & Mrs. Farrand said.
& # 39; The UK has one of the lowest salt intakes of all developed countries, and this has been achieved by setting voluntary salt targets and regularly monitoring the food industry to achieve those goals.
& # 39; Salt targets for the food industry in Australia are coming, which is great, but there are no salt targets for meat alternatives, and this needs to be addressed. & # 39;
Dr. VicHealth acting director Lyn Roberts shared some simple tips for shoppers who want to enjoy meat-free meals without salt.
"There are some fantastic plant-based foods that are low in salt, often less expensive and very healthy such as regular tofu, legumes such as lentils and black beans, and of course fresh vegetables," Dr. said. Roberts.
& # 39; Try marinating your tofu in ginger, garlic and a little soy sauce with a low salt content for your stir-fry dish or fill your vegetarian burger with grilled mushrooms fresh from the BBQ.
& # 39; We want people to remember that meat alternatives such as vegan sausages, pies and hamburgers can be highly processed foods and certainly not something that we recommend eating regularly. & # 39;
Tam Fry, expert advisory team member at Action on Salt, said: & # 39; only because meat-free products are becoming fashionable, many food companies think they can bend the rules to keep their product & # 39; tastier & # 39; – but they come from hand.
& # 39; They have been rummaged through the Institute and the research always reminds us to read the labels. & # 39;
WHAT WOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grain, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count
• Basic meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grain
• 30 grams of fiber per day: this is the same as eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-grain cereal cookies, 2 thick slices of whole-grain bread and a large baked potato with the skin on it
• Provide some alternatives to dairy or dairy products (such as soy drinks) with options for less fat and less sugar
• Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which must be fatty)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume in small quantities
• Drink 6-8 cups / glasses of water per day
• Adults must have less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day
Source: NHS Eatwell guide
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