That vegan who breaks your heart

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‘That vegan who breaks your heart’ is not a herbivore gigolo for gravure. Rather, a warning about the cardiovascular health risks of eating certain vegetarian and vegan foods. Market survey and suggestions.
Salt consumption, in Italy and Europe, is still double the maximum threshold recommended by the WHO. 5 grams of salt per day, no more. Otherwise, heart health risks increase, heart attacks in the first place, but also cancers. As the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) itself noted at the time. (1)
Salt intakes come first and foremost from baked goods and cereals (more than one-third), but also from dairy and meat products, according to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal. And that’s not all.

That vegan who breaks your heart, with a blow of salt

Vegan and vegetarian foods-which are all the rage these days-in turn have non-negligible salt contents. Thanks to the nutrition declaration, which is mandatory on the label, we can be more careful. Both in the choice of products and their consumption.
Vegan burgers, Swiss, medallions, steaks, cutlets, nuggets, meatballs, croquettes, frankfurters, cutlets, bresaola and sliced meats, and so on. There is something for everyone, from the
meat sounding
to chicken and even fish sounding.

Over 130 products compared

But how much salt is found in 100 g of product? We examined the label of more than 130 ready-to-eat vegan and vegetarian foods. Some of them have such a high salt/sodium content that they reach the recommended daily threshold in only one serving or slightly more.

Therefore, we have developed a ranking that follows the following criteria:

  • each brand positions itself on the basis of the saltiest food in its product line,
  • brands are ranked in descending order, from those least concerned about the ‘salt hazard’ to those most responsible,
  • individual products are assigned code red, yellow or green by applying the traffic light labeling criteria defined in England. Which, in an investigation such as this-about nontraditional foods-turn out to be particularly useful.

 

Red, yellow or green

Céréal bio. ‘Seitan with vegetables,’ 3.5 g. ‘Quinoa and tomato boulghour burger’ and ‘Soy cheese burger’, 3 g. ‘Spelt and vegetable boulghour burger’ 2.2. ‘Soybean burger with millet and mushrooms’ 1,2.
Fit Food. ‘Vegetarian Salami’ 3.3, ‘Sliced vegan deli with chives’ and ‘Sliced vegan natural’ 1.9 g.
Auchan – Simply. Vivera, ‘Vegetarian burger,’ 3.2 g. Squirrel. ‘Sunflowers with grilled vegetables,’ 1.6. Vivera ‘Vegetarian cutlets’, 1.3, ‘Burger with vegetables’ 0.9.
Me Veg. ‘Mini sausage’ 2.7 g. ‘Vegetarian burger’ 2.2. ‘Smoked style vegan slices’ 2. ‘Vegetarian sausage’ 1.9. ‘Original vegan slices’ 1.8.
– Green Queen. ‘Fettaudace sweet paprika’ 2.7, ‘Fettarustica pistachios and tofu’ 1.5, ‘Stizikinzy tofu and seitan classic’ and ‘Stizikinzy tofu and seitan rich taste’ 1.2 ,
Vegourmet. ‘Classic Roast Bratenstuck’ and ‘Mediterranean Roast Bratenstuck’ 2.6 g. ‘Cordon mushrooms’ 2. ‘Cordon bianco’ and ‘Cordon pizza’ 1.9. ‘Kebab Mediterranean Sunset’ 1.8. ‘Mediterranean mince’ 1.6. Pepper soy steaks’ 1.5. ‘Seafood steak deluxe – vegan seafood slices’ 0.7.
Italian organic food company – Natura Nuova. ‘Grilled vegetable soy burger,’ 2.4 grams salt. ‘Swiss vegetarian’, 1.9 g salt. ‘Quinoa and azuki medallions,’ 1.9. ‘Soy steaks,’ 1.9. ‘Seitan burger,’ 1,2. ‘Spinach croquettes,’ 0.9. ‘Vegetable sausages with spelt and soy’, 0.8.
Almaverde bio. ‘Vegetarian soybean meatballs’ and ‘Vegetarian mini-chops,’ 2.4 g. ‘Vegetarian rolls,’ 1.9. ‘Vegetarian sausages,’ 1.8. ‘Vegetable nuggets,’ 1.1.
Organic Mopur – The Golden Legume. ‘Fresh vegetable meat for stew’, 2.3 g, ‘Seasoned sliced’ 1.9, ‘Aromatic carpaccio’ 1.8, ‘Mopur fillet’ 1.6, ‘Lupin shreds’ and ‘Lupin sausages’ and ‘Burger’ and ‘Mopur sausages’ 1.5.
Mediterranean BioVeg. ‘Sliced seitan with turmeric’ 2.2 g. ‘Grilled Seitan’ 2. ‘Seitan sausage’ 1.7. ‘Zucchini medburger’ 1.5. ‘Medburger with vegetables’ 1.3. ‘Pizzaiola Medbuger’ and ‘Smoked Seitan’ 1,2. ‘Olive Medburger’ 1. ‘Spinach Medburger’ and ‘Natural Seitan’ 0.9. ‘Roast seitan’ 0.4.
Vantastic Foods. ‘Vegetable chicken fillet pieces’ 2 g. ‘Vegan chicken balls’ 1.8. ‘Vegan steak’ 1.7 (5.1 the 300g portion). ‘Vegan calamari’ (in rounds) and ‘Vegan roast chicken’ (with the shape of the original) 1.4. ‘Burger Viva Mexiko’ 0.7. ‘Sliced organic vegan carpaccio’, 0.
VBites, VegiDeli. ‘Vegan tuna type pate’ and ‘Vegan meatballs’ 2 g. ‘Roast-type roast-beef’ 1,2. ‘Big Burger, Quarter Pounders’ 0.8. ‘Organic vegetable chicken burger’ 0.5.
Wheaty. ‘Organic Stuffed Burger’ and ‘Vegan Kebab Gyros’ and ‘Vegan Kebab Döner’ and ‘Vegan Steak Steak Virginia’ 1.9 g. ‘Sliced Chorizo’ and ‘Vegan slices salami’, 1.8, ‘Vienna sausages’ 1.7, ‘Space Bar’ 1.6.
Granarolo. ‘Organic vegetable burger with tomato and olives’ 1.8 g. ‘Organic vegetable burger with sorghum and broccoli’ 1.3. ‘Organic vegetable burger with quinoa and carrots’ 1.2. ‘Organic vegetable burger with zucchini’ 0.9. ‘Organic vegetable meatballs with mixed vegetables’ 0.6.
Coop Italy. Vivi Verde organic line, ‘Frozen soy croquettes’, 1.7 g. ‘Frozen soy cutlets,’ 1.6. ‘Frozen soy burgers’, 1. ‘Frozen soybean stew with peas’, 0.9 (2.7 grams of salt per 300 g serving).
Conbio – BioAppetì. ‘Lupin vegetable sausage’, 1.7 g. ‘Lupin cutlet’ 1.5, ‘Seitan burger’ 1.2, ‘Lentil and onion burger’ and ‘Spelt and carrot burger’ 1.1, ‘Soy burger’ and ‘Seitan bites with peas’ 1, ‘Grilled seitan’ 0,9, ‘Quinoa and zucchini burger’ and ‘Spelt and broccoli burger’ 0.8, ‘Spinach lupin burger’, 0.7 g, ‘Seitan au naturel’ 0.6, ‘Spinach burger’ 0.5, ‘‘Grilled tempeh and tofu’ and ‘Tempeh’ 0.1, ‘Natural tofu’ 0.
Valsoia. ‘Veggie burger’ (with egg, frozen), 1.6 g. ‘Vegetable cutlets’ (frozen), 1.3. ‘Vegetable cutlets with spinach,’ 1,2. ‘Vegetable Nuggets,’ 1,2.
Kioene. ‘Eggplant vegetable burger,’ 1.6 g. ‘Mini spinach veggie burger,’ 1.5. ‘Mini rice veggie burger’ 1.4. ‘Vegetable Cordon Bleu’ 1.3.
Source of Life. ‘Tomato and basil seitan bites’ and ‘Organic olive tofu bites’ 1.5 g. ‘Tempeh burger’ 0.7.
Conad organic. ‘Vegetable soy burger,’ 1.5 g.
Sojasun. ‘Vegetable soy burger,’ 1.5 g. ‘Classic soy burger’ 1.4. ‘Seitan escalopes’, 1. ‘Soybean stew 0.9. ‘Seitan tonné,’ 0.8.
Carrefour organic. ‘Tofu cutlet’, 1.5 g. ‘Seitan burger’ 1,2. ”Tofu burger with millet and soybean” and ”Tofu burger with spelt and broccoli,” 1.1. ‘Spinach and tofu burger,’ 0.9. ‘Natural seitan’ 0.6.
Organic DNA. ‘Arrostella veg’ 1.4 g.
-integrAtions. ‘Seitan lemon escalopes’ 1.4, ‘Seitan mushroom escalopes’ 1, ‘Grilled seitan’ and ‘Seitan au naturel’ 0.6.
Germinal bio. ‘Quinoa vegetable burger,’ 1.3 g. ‘Teff celeriac and zucchini meatballs,’ 0.9. ‘Buckwheat olive burger,’ 0.8.
Ki Group. ‘Vegetable and tofu patties,’ 1.3 g. ‘Mini-burgers with sprouts’, 1.
– Source of life. ‘Hamburghella with seaweed’ 1.2, ‘Seitan au naturel’ 0.7, ‘Grilled seitan’ 0.5.
Organic wheat muscle. ‘Burger’, ‘Filet’, ‘Fiorentina’, ‘Sliced roast’, ‘Sliced bresaola’, ‘Sliced salamella’, ‘Sliced neutral’, 1 g. ‘Sliced rosé,’ 0.7.
Orogel. ‘Mini vegetable burger with crispy breadcrumbs’, 0.9 g. ‘Mini burger with artichokes,’ 0.8. ‘Mini wellness burger with quinoa and flaxseed,’ 0.7. ‘Mini spinach burger with crispy breadcrumbs’, 0.6. ‘Mini vegetarian spelt and chickpea burger’, 0.5.
Findus. ‘Veggie Burger’ (frozen), 0.8 g.
Far from it. ‘Pö organic vegetable burger’, 0.8 g.
Biolab. ‘Milanesine’ and ‘Tofu and vegetable sticks’ 2.4, ‘Vegetarian schnitzel’ and ‘Seitan medallions with onions’ 2, ‘Vegetarian Switzerland’ 1.9, ‘Vegetable-filled patties’ 1.7, ‘Tofu, rice and seaweed medallions’ 1.5, ‘Oatmeal patties’ 0.7
Terra Vegane. ‘Organic vegan classic burger’ 0.5 g. ‘4-pepper sliced’ and ‘Smoked lentil sliced’ 0.1.
– V.V. Veg. ‘Vegetable stew’ 0.4 g.

Vegan equals healthy? Not always

Therefore, one should not delude ones elf about the ‘healthiness’ of a food just because it is ‘vegetarian’ or ‘vegan.’ Rather, you need to do a quick count to check how much salt you take in your meal. A 2-300-gram portion, or a mix of products, is sometimes enough to border on the limit. Keeping in mind that the total 24-hour salt intake should not exceed 5 grams, for the health of our heart.
Nutritional profiles elaborated by the WHO Regional Office for Europe of the rest, (2) where ever applied, would prevent the promotion of nutritional properties-e.g., ‘contains fiber,’ ‘rich in fiber,’ ‘source of protein,’ ‘high protein content’-on ‘ready meals’ (3) such as those analyzed, if their salt content exceeds 1 gram per 100 of product.

An invitation to industry

The ‘traffic light’ labels applied in England, (4) in turn, require a red mark on all foods containing 1.5 g of salt per 100, or more. Yellow light (5), on the other hand, for foods with a salt content between 0.3 and 1.5 grams. (6) To each his own conclusion.
A call to operators, industry and distribution, reduce salt! Because if it is too much, you cannot remove it from the finished product. Conversely, if consumers wish to add flavor to foods, they can provide it themselves. And they will know how to appreciate your efforts, as shown by recent research.

How to protect yourself

A word of advice to consumAtors, reduce salt! It is a habit issue worth working on, for good health and therefore better living. You can reduce it gradually, a little at a time, perhaps replacing it with other natural and organic seasonings, such as tamari and shoyu. Which allow flavor to be imparted to foods with reduced sodium intake compared to table salt.
‘To make foods tasty we can use more spices, herbs, vinegar and lemon juice’ – then suggests Crea, Food and Nutrition Research Center. In its Guidelines for a Healthy Italian Diet, where it recommends limiting ‘instead the use of bouillon cubes, mustard, soy sauce, and ketchup, which are high in salt.’ (7)

Notes

(1) See Efsa scientific opinion on nutrient profiles 25.2.08, page 14, at http://onlinelibrary.wiley. com/store/10.2903/j.efsa.2008. 644/asset/efs2644.pdf; jsessionid= C18DD16BE51ECB2C9CA10846E29B23 8A.f02t02?v=1&t=j1l7kvpt&s= 7d4cc7ddc7850283ba8170cbb92efa 772ee0bc30&systemMessage=Pay+For+View+on+Wiley+Online+ Library+will+be+unavailable+on+Saturday+15th+April+from+%3A00-09%essential+maintenance.++ Apologies+for+the+ inconvenience.
(2) See http://www.euro.who.int/_ _data/assets/pdf_file/0005/ 270716/Europe-nutrient- profile-model-2015-en.pdf?ua=1
(3)‘Ready-made and convenience foods and composite dishes. Nutrient profiles were also established in EU Regulation 1924/06, Article 4, as a limitation on the use of nutrition & health claims on HFSS(High Fats, Sugars and Sodium) foods. But the European Commission never did so, and indeed the Parliament later opposed their adoption. See the article https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/profili-nutrizionali-l’oms-advances-and-europe-recedes
(4) Cf. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/food-labelling.aspx
(5)‘Amber means neither high nor low, so you can eat foods with all or mostly amber on the label most of the time.
But any red on the label means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugars, and these are the foods we should cut down on. Try to eat these foods less often and in small amounts
(6) Under EU Regulation 1924/06, so-called NHS(Nutrition & Health Claims), ‘A claim that a food is low in sodium/salt and any other claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer may only be made where the product contains no more than 0.12 g of sodium, or an equivalent value of salt (equal to 0.3 g, ed.), per 100 g or 100 ml.
(7) ‘High sodium intakes increase the risk for some diseases of the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys, either through increased blood pressure or independently of this mechanism. High sodium intake is also associated with a higher risk of stomach cancer, increased urinary calcium losses, and thus, probably, an increased risk of osteoporosis’ (Crea Guidelines, Chapter 6)