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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Meat Substitutes: which elements are Questionable

Tofu sausages, vegan burgers, and the like have gotten more and more frequent on our plates. However are veggie alternate options routinely more healthy than the animal-based unique? We’ve compiled an inventory of elements in meat substitutes that it’s best to keep away from.

Tofu sausages and seitan skewers are in notably excessive demand through the barbecue season. However are meat substitutes routinely more healthy than meat? We’ve taken an in depth take a look at what’s in vegan and vegetarian substitute merchandise and present you the worst elements in meat substitutes.


In Germany, we eat much less meat than at any time since reunification. In 2022, the determine was 52 kilograms per particular person, which is round 15 p.c and virtually 9 kilograms lower than in 2012. On the identical time, an increasing number of folks in Germany are turning to meat substitutes. The manufacturing of meat-free alternate options greater than doubled in 2023 in comparison with 2019.

However we must always not overlook: Meat manufacturing remains to be round 80 instances greater than that of vegan and vegetarian substitute merchandise. Nonetheless, as an increasing number of alternate options to meat are coming onto the market, it’s price taking a important take a look at the elements. We present you which ones elements it’s best to take an in depth take a look at.


Tofu sausages, seitan schnitzel and pea burger patties are under no circumstances contemporary, however extremely processed meals. That is why emulsifiers, colorants, taste enhancers, preservatives and thickeners are additionally used of their manufacturing. Many of those are innocent, however it’s best to take an in depth take a look at the next components:

Thickening agent: E407 carrageenan

The thickening agent carrageenan is obtained from the carbohydrates of crimson algae. Along with meat substitutes, producers additionally use it in cream, pudding and different dairy merchandise.

Though the World Well being Group (WHO) has not issued an official warning, the European Meals Security Authority (EFSA) set a most dose of carrageenan of 75 mg/kg physique weight in 2018. This every day dose applies till more moderen knowledge is offered. Analysis remains to be comparatively new on this space.

Carrageenan is suspected of inflicting intestinal problems and allergic reactions. In animal experiments, the substance proved to be dangerous to the immune system in massive portions. It is best to subsequently keep away from carrageenan in meals if potential. Alternate options embrace locust bean gum, pectin or guar gum.

E425 Konjac

Konjac is obtained from the basis of the so-called satan’s tongue and is used within the meals trade as a filler, gelling and thickening agent. Satan’s tongue is a plant that grows in Asia.

Our physique doesn’t take in konjac (E-number E425), however the substance hinders the absorption of necessary vitamins. The thickening agent can develop into lodged within the throat and has already led to choking in youngsters. Konjac is banned in jelly confectionery within the EU and the chance of choking from so-called jelly cups is excessive, particularly for kids and the aged.


Sadly, shoppers can’t inform whether or not a product accommodates mineral oil residues. This makes it all of the extra necessary that Stiftung Warentest and Öko-Check recurrently take a look at meals for this. Mineral oil parts can discover their means into merchandise by way of lubricating oils from machines throughout harvesting, transportation or additional processing.

This may be harmful: Saturated mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOSH) accumulate in human fatty tissue and organs with as but unknown penalties. Fragrant mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOAH) are generally carcinogenic.

When Öko-Check examined vegan chilly cuts in 2022, the testers discovered not less than traces of mineral oil in virtually all merchandise. Some vegan burger patties additionally contained mineral oil residues within the 2023 take a look at. This happens time and again in varied merchandise, for instance within the butter take a look at and the olive oil take a look at. It’s excessive time that producers made enhancements within the manufacturing course of.

An excessive amount of salt in veggie sausages, vegan schnitzel and co. Salt is just not harmful or dangerous per se. Nonetheless, should you devour an excessive amount of salt, this will increase the chance of hypertension and, in consequence, heart problems. The WHO recommends that adults devour 5 grams of salt (about one teaspoon) a day. Within the EU, nevertheless, we devour round twice as a lot on common.

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