Twenty years ago, it was difficult for you to find a single store selling oat milk. But becoming a vegetarian today has never been easier, with manufacturers re-creating every single dish you can imagine.
The entire supermarket isles are dedicated to plant-based products, from vegetarian things to meatless burgers and non-dairy ice creams.
But while advocating for the health benefits of cutting animal products, experts are increasingly warning about the lack of nutrients in many vegetarian items.
To achieve the impossible task of making soft vegetables or tofu a reliable alternative, food manufacturers often fill them with unhealthy oils, starches and other ingredients high in saturated fat, sugar and salt. In many cases, they are high in calories and low in important nutrients than animal-based products.
MailOnline has now compiled some of the worst criminals according to the country’s leading experts:
What should a balanced diet look like?
Food should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS
Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. Count all fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables
Potato, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grain based food
३० 30 grams of fiber a day: It is like eating all of the following: 5 parts of fruits and vegetables, 2 biscuits of wheat grains, 2 thick pieces of sour bread and a large potato cooked on the skin
केही Take some dairy or dairy options (such as soy drinks) by choosing low fat and low sugar options.
Eat some beans, lentils, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish each week, one of which should be oily).
Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume small amounts
Drink 6-8 cups / glass of water a day
Less than 6 grams of salt for adults and 20 grams of saturated fat for women or 30 grams for men.
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide
Sausage and bacon
With more vegetarians now living in the UK and hotter temperatures to stay here in the coming weeks, thousands of meatless sausages and burgers will be fried on BBQs across the country.
But while vegetarian sausages and bacon are low in fat, they may contain more salt and sugar than meat alternatives and often lack the main vitamins found in real cheese.
Duan Mailer, a dietitian at Aston Medical School in Birmingham, said consumers believe vegetarian products are healthy but it is important to check labels and be aware that “something is plant-based and not healthy”.
‘Check for salt and remember that unlike meat, many vegetarian meat substitutes do not have the same level of iron and vitamin B12 required for health, our blood cells and nerves are working better,’ Dr Mailer added.
Vegetarian sausages and bacon are usually made from soy and wheat protein or pea protein.
However, unlike meat, these forms of protein are low in essential amino acids, which are needed for healthy bones, tissue repair and absorption of nutrients.
Studies have also shown that the body absorbs about two percent less protein from vegetarian options than from real meat.
The products are piled with salt to make them taste like meat roots, which derive their juices and flavors from animal fats.
And experts warn that trans fats can also be high in vegetarian versions – the type of fat that causes the most damage to heart health by raising bad cholesterol and lowering good ones.
To give them a meaty origin like omega, vegetarian options also include plant-based oils – such as coconut and palm – which may contain high levels of saturated fat.
These oils can also raise bad cholesterol levels.
However, red and processed meats also contain high levels of saturated fat, and overeating is associated with a higher risk of bowel cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke.
Those who shop for their dinner may assume that vegetable-based foods are healthier than processed meats.
But they are often saltier than similar versions made with beef, chicken or pork, which are already very salty, and they can contain twice as much sugar as meat-based versions.
Excessive amounts of sodium in the diet can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
Gunter Kuhnley, a professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Reading, told MailOnline that even if ingredients are included, vegetarian alternatives do not have ‘the same nutritional content’ unless they are strong.
‘I’m not sure all consumers will notice that if they eat a vegetarian meat substitute, they can consume less iron or vitamin B12,’ he said.
Iron is needed to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. Eating too little iron found in the liver, red meat and beans can cause anemia.
B12 is also needed to make red blood cells, keep the nervous system healthy and absorb energy from food. It is found naturally in animal products such as meat, fish, milk and cheese. Like iron, not eating enough can lead to anemia.
Sonia Pombo, campaign manager for Action on Salt, told MailOnline that a ‘plant-based’ or ‘vegetarian’ label does not qualify a product as ‘healthy’ because some prepared foods contain ‘excessive amounts of hidden salt’. And saturated fat ‘.
‘That’s why we need to look ahead to essential and clear pack nutrition information to make it easier for stores to make real, informed healthy choices,’ she said. ‘Too much salt raises our blood pressure, which is a major cause of stroke and heart disease.’
How much salt should I eat?
Eating too much salt raises blood pressure and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Adults should consume a maximum of 6 grams of salt per day.
About 75% to 80% of people eat salted foods such as processed and convenient foods such as sauces and meats.
The average British daily intake of salt per gram would reduce the number of deaths from stroke and heart attack by 6,000.
Most labels now offer salt per serving.
Foods are considered low in salt and have a green label if they contain less than 0.3 grams per 100 grams.
Medium salt level products contain less than 1.5 grams per 100 grams, as indicated by the amber label.
And products with high levels of salt have a red label, meaning they contain 1.5 grams per 100 grams or 1.8 grams per portion.
For many people, the hardest thing about going vegetarian is quitting.
Manufacturers have tried to recreate the creamy taste and moist texture of cheese without dairy.
But, like other vegetarian versions, plant-based cheese substitutes have ‘low nutritional value’, according to nutritionist Richard Hoffman.
Plant-based cheeses use starch and vegetable oils – such as coconut oil and palm oil – as the main ingredients to make it look like real cheese.
The intestines break down starch into sugar, which can lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
And vegetable oils are ‘worse’ because even though coconut oil is claimed to be healthy, it is ‘almost completely’ saturated fat, Mr Hoffman of the University of Hertfordshire said in The Conversation.
The main type of saturated fat lauric acid in coconut oil raises the level of ‘bad cholesterol’ known as low density lipoprotein (LDL). This can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke over time.
Just a small 30 gram portion of vegetarian cheese based on coconut oil can contain one third of a person’s daily saturated fat allowance. While real cheese is also high in saturated fat, it is not associated with a higher risk of heart disease.
Scientists believe that this may be due to the fact that saturated fats are naturally present in things that are not absorbed by the body as much as in oil and meat.
Vegetarian cheese eaters may also miss out on the nutritional benefits of dairy cheese, which naturally contains protein, calcium, iodine, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Producers need to add these nutrients to their vegetarian cheese to give consumers the same benefits – but not everyone does that, Mr. Huffman said.
Yogurt is the best food for slimmers looking for low calorie dense foods – and dairy-free versions allow vegetarians to get to work.
While traditional products are a rich source of protein and vitamins such as calcium, vitamin D and zinc, vegetarian alternatives naturally do not contain many of these compounds and they are often not fortified with them.
Plant-based yogurt, usually made from fermented soy or coconut milk, contains as little as a tenth of the protein in normal yogurt, doubles the calories, and is rich in saturated fat.
One container can contain 10 grams of saturated fat – half for women and one-third for men. Eating too much can raise bad cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
And, like the dairy-based versions, some vegetarian yogurts are made with artificial colors and desserts.
However, they contain probiotics, live bacteria, and yeast that promote bacteria in the stomach, such as Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, which improve digestion.
Dr Carmen Pearnas, a researcher and nutritionist at Oxford University, told MailOnline that the amount of sugar added to many dairy-free versions may be high, but some brands offer healthier alternatives.
Donuts and other sweet treats
Sometimes sticking to sweet treats doesn’t do much harm.
But experts warn that despite the vegetarian branding, plant-based donuts and chocolate offer no additional nutritional benefits.
The vegetarian versions of the UK’s favorite dessert treats often have the same calories, sugar and salt as the traditional versions. And Drs. Hoffman told MailOnline that plant-based foods are “almost always ultra-processed foods.”
Food processing involves simple cooking techniques such as roasting and boiling, but ultra-processed foods are often made with inexpensive ingredients such as vegetable oil, starch and sugar and artificial colors and flavors.
This is due to the strong link between junk food and the ‘increased risk of obesity and a whole range of chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer’, said Dr Hoffman.
This is believed to be due to their low nutritional value, high levels of sugar, fat and trans-fats.
‘Another important thing is that studies of the health benefits of eating a vegetarian diet come from vegetarians who eat mostly whole-foods – vegetables, fruits, pulses,’ said Dr. Hoffman.
He added: ‘There is now a new generation of vegetarians who are eating a lot of ultra-processed foods as part of their vegetarian diet and this can make their vegetarian diet less healthy.’
He said it was “worrying” because of the strong link between junk food and the “increased risk of obesity and the whole range of chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.”
Plant-based ice creams may contain a third of the sugar to enhance the flavor, while milk-based scoops may contain half the protein.
A standard vegetarian ice cream cone can contain 16 grams of sugar and 2 grams of protein, compared to 11 grams of sugar and 1.6 grams of protein in the original version.
And the original cookie dough ice cream tub contains 19 grams of protein, while the vegetarian option contains only 9 grams.
Vegan versions can also be packed with more saturated fat, if they are made from coconut milk instead of cow’s milk.
Professor Gunter said that the foods consumed for consumption, which are almost all sweet, fall into the category of having no nutritional benefits.
It also increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and other diseases, he said.
But it’s important to keep in mind that sometimes engaging in sweet treats can have broad health benefits by improving mood, Professor Gunter said.
Source: | This article is originally from Dailymail.co.uk