According to a survey conducted by Action on Salt, some plant-based restaurant meals contain ‘more salt than eight McDonald’s hamburgers’ despite many consumers being led to believe that vegan alternatives to meat-based options were healthier.
The survey, carried out by the campaign group to coincide with Salt Awareness Week (9-15 March), examined the salt content of 290 plant-based and vegan meals, collected from a total of 45 restaurant, takeaway, fast food and coffee chains.
Of those analysed, nearly half – 45% – contained 3g or more of salt (adults are encouraged to consume no more than 6g of salt per day).
The worst offenders include Wasabi’s pumpkin katsu curry yakisoba, which was found to contain 10.3g of salt; Papa John’s vegan American hot medium pizza, which has 9.28g of salt; and Loch Fyne’s spiced roasted cauliflower and squash Goan curry, with 8.65g of salt.
Meanwhile, more than half of meals surveyed were also found to have high levels of saturated fat, with Harvester’s The Purist Burger (served with triple cooked chips) containing 54.2g. On average, men are encouraged not to eat more than 30g of saturated fat a day; while for women the figure is 20g.
“Eating a more plant based diet can and should be beneficial for a number of reasons, but whether you are looking to eat less meat for animal welfare, sustainability or health reasons, it is important to know a ‘plant-based’ or ‘vegan’ label does not automatically qualify a product as healthy,” says Sonia Pombo, campaign manager for Action on Salt
“It is time for restaurants and cafes to step up and start making food that is healthy for us and better for the planet.”