Some contain more salt per serving than seawater. Gross
From plant-based ‘steak’ to vegan fish and chip shops, there’s no escaping the deluge of meat-free options crowding supermarket shelves and hipster menus.
Per portion, the average vegetarian Kiev is saltier than a large portion of McDonald’s fries
That there are more options for your meat-dodging mates is no bad thing (except for vegan camembert. That’s unacceptable), but if they’re stacking the trolley with meat free alternatives in the name of ‘health’, they might actually be doing themselves a disservice.
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According to health organisation Action on Salt, many meat-free products contain levels of salt that are far higher than the real deal, helping you make light work of the (already generous) recommended daily limit of 6g per person.
On average, beef burgers contain 0.75g of salt per serving; 0.14g less than the average salt content of meat-free burgers (assuming you don’t channel Salt Bae when it comes to seasoning).
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When it comes to the highest average salt content per 100g, the worst offenders were meat-free bacon and sliced meat. Per portion, the average vegetarian Kiev is saltier than a large portion of McDonald’s fries.
Research from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence found that for every 1g of salt we reduce in our diet, there will be 7,000 fewer deaths from heart disease and strokes a year, saving the NHS a mammoth £1.5 billion. So cutting down is in everyone’s interest.
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Time to name and shame. Tofurky’s ‘hickory smoked deli slices’ and Tesco’s ‘meat free eight bacon style rashers’ were the saltiest of the products tested, both containing more salt per 100g than seawater.
Meanwhile, Quorn’s ‘best of British sausages’ remain the saltiest vegetarian sausages available, providing more than 2.2g per two sausages.
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“Research has highlighted that we must reduce the amount of meat we eat to reduce the negative impact of climate change,” says Mhairi Brown, nutritionist at Action on Salt.
“The food industry have ensured greater availability of meat-free alternatives, but now they must do more to ensure that meat free alternatives contain far less salt; at the very least, lower than their meat equivalents.”