You might have seen in recent years that more and more plant-based meat substitutes are appearing on the shelves of your local supermarket. Whether you want meat-free sausages, plant-based mince, or even ‘vegan duck’, you now have a smorgasbord of choices.
It’s clear that many people are switching out meat for plant-based alternatives. A report by the Vegan Society suggests that as many as 1 in 5 people have reduced the amount of meat they consume since the pandemic. Many of the participants in the report listed that health benefits were one of the main reasons for switching to meat substitutes.
Whilst many plant-based meat brands champion the health benefits on their packaging, it really does depend on what’s in them.
This is because in many cases, fat and salt are added to these products to help improve the taste, texture and appearance of the food. Which would ultimately mean that some may contain much higher saturated fats and salt than ordinary meat.
Nutritionist Eva Humphries emphasises the danger of changing from meat to meat alternatives, as it is moving from whole food to an ‘ultra-processed food’. She also states that ‘whole foods will always be your best option’, when it comes to getting your daily nutrients.
Some have even called the salt levels in plant-based meats ‘unnecessarily high’. With more than three in four plant-based meat products exceeding salt targets, according to Health Campaigner ‘Action on Salt’; it’s clear to see why.
A study carried out by ‘Action on Salt’ found that 75% of the products surveyed did not meet the UK governments salt reduction targets of 1.19g per 100g. Reducing salt is thought to be the most cost-effective strategy to improve public health. Excess salt in your diet can cause many health problems, especially as you get older.
So whilst there are now plenty of choices when it comes to plant-based meat alternatives, you can’t beat a good bit of meat!
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