Meat-free burgers contain more salt than real burgers, survey shows

Meat-free burgers contain high levels of salt -- exceeding recommended limits, finds a new ...

Posted: Oct 23, 2018 3:42 PM
Updated: Oct 23, 2018 3:42 PM

Meat-free burgers contain high levels of salt -- exceeding recommended limits, finds a new survey into the salt content of vegetarian and vegan alternatives to meat.

The UK group Action on Salt found that burgers made from meat substitutes contained an average of 0.89 grams of salt per serving -- real beef burgers' averaged 0.75 grams per portion -- 0.14 grams less.

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Consumer products

Continents and regions

Diet and nutrition

Diet, nutrition and fitness

England

Europe

Food and drink

Food products

Food trends

Health and medical

Kinds of foods and beverages

Meat products

Northern Europe

Nutrition

Public health

United Kingdom

Vegetarian and vegan diets

Food and beverage industry

Food production industry

The group, based at Queen Mary University of London, studied 157 meat-free products from major retailers and found that more than a quarter -- 28% -- of meat-free products had higher salt levels than guideline targets set by Public Health England.

In addition, 20% of products did not have color coded labeling on their packaging to reveal the nutritional information of the foods, such as salt levels.

"Labels allow people to just glance at a product, and see if it is a healthy or less healthy choice," said Mhairi Brown, nutritionist at Action on Salt, who carried out the survey.

She said the results are quite surprising, given that meat-free options are sold as healthier alternatives to real meat.

"People don't tend to think as meat alternatives as an unhealthy product," said Brown. But this "health halo is concealing quite high levels of salt," she told CNN.

The group have called on Public Health England (PHE) to act now to lower the amount of salt found in these food products.

High salt diets can increase blood pressure and are linked to strokes and cardiovascular diseases. UK guidelines recommend a maximum daily salt intake for adults of 3 grams to be reached by 2025 to tackle cardiovascular problems in the population.

Cutting back on salt in the processed foods we eat could help us live for many more years and research also suggests that too much salt can negatively affect bone health in young girls and postmenopausal women.

"Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to reduce the number of people dying or suffering from entirely unnecessary strokes and heart disease," said Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Salt. "Given the vast amounts of strokes and heart disease that could be avoided and huge savings to the NHS, it is incomprehensible that Public Health England are not doing more to reduce the amount of salt in our food."

Concern for flexitarians

Brown highlighted the recent rise in flexitarian diets, where meat consumption is kept to a minimum. Health and environmental reasons are the driving forces behind the popularity of this diet. But "if people are making those healthy choices," she asked, "are they really finding healthier [food] choices?"

Reduction of our meat consumption is key to helping the environment and Brown thinks it is important to encourage reduced meat production due to the environmental impacts. But the "food industry should be encouraged to reduce salt intake," she said.

According to the survey, the saltiest meat-free product was Tofurky's Deli Slices Hickory Smoked, containing 3.5 grams of salt -- approximately 30% more than the salt found in 100 grams of seawater, which is 2.5 grams.

The UK began implementing salt targets in 2006. Since 2016 responsibility was taken up by PHE and Brown stated that "very little action" has been undertaken by the public body.

The last salt target -- 0.63 grams of salt per 100 grams -- published by Public Health England expired in December 2017 and there has been no new target or recommendation published said Brown, adding that her findings show "the food industry hasn't been encouraged to work towards those [salt] targets."

"Our salt consumption has decreased over the last decade but there is still a long way to go, as some foods still contain too much salt," stated Louis Levy, spokesperson for Public Health England, in an email to CNN. The "Government has been clear with the food industry on the importance of meeting the 2017 salt targets. Since taking over salt reduction, PHE has been collecting data on industry's progress and we'll report later this year as planned."

A US Department of Health and Human Services report earlier this year stated that average sodium intake for American adults is more than 3.4 grams per day. Nearly 50% more than the recommended federal guidelines.

Dr. Brian Power, lecturer in nutrition at University College London (UCL) and honorary dietitian at the UCL Hospital, warned that the survey didn't include a baseline or the total number of meat-free products available in the UK, leaving it up for question if the survey's results are an estimate of this entire category of food or if the findings represent a small part of the meat-free industry.

Power also highlighted that salt intake is just one factor influencing our cardiovascular health. Exercise levels, alcohol consumption and how much water we drink are also important. "There is no good versus bad food, it is more about the pattern over a consistent period of time."

West Lafayette
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 51°
Kokomo
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 47°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
45° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 45°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
45° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 45°
Williamsport
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 45°
Crawfordsville
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 48°
Frankfort
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 42°
Delphi
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Monticello
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Logansport
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 44°
Some more scattered rain with windy & cooler conditions.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 119066

Reported Deaths: 3612
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21563768
Lake10745324
Elkhart6734112
St. Joseph6679115
Allen6364205
Hamilton4965109
Vanderburgh384231
Hendricks2779124
Monroe267137
Tippecanoe259013
Johnson2362125
Clark226757
Porter222447
Delaware201162
Cass19589
Vigo187928
Madison171475
LaPorte151941
Warrick140743
Floyd140464
Howard133964
Kosciusko127117
Bartholomew119357
Marshall102124
Dubois100919
Boone99746
Grant96636
Hancock94843
Noble92932
Henry82226
Jackson77610
Wayne77314
Morgan73940
Shelby68329
Daviess68129
Dearborn67928
LaGrange64711
Clinton63414
Harrison59824
Putnam59011
Gibson5455
Knox5379
Lawrence51829
Montgomery51321
DeKalb49111
White48814
Decatur46139
Miami4394
Greene42936
Fayette42314
Jasper4032
Steuben3977
Scott39311
Posey3541
Sullivan33812
Jennings31712
Franklin31525
Clay3105
Ripley3108
Orange28724
Whitley2876
Carroll28013
Adams2773
Wabash2758
Starke2737
Washington2702
Wells2694
Spencer2683
Jefferson2523
Huntington2503
Fulton2462
Tipton22922
Randolph2238
Perry22213
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1690
Pike1691
Rush1584
Vermillion1320
Fountain1302
Blackford1223
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1033
Benton860
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0227

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events