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Few veggie products get good ratings
Whether tofu sausages, lupine schnitzel or vegetable burgers: vegetarian and vegan foods have been experiencing a real boom for several years. While the popular meat substitute was previously only available in health food stores or health food stores, products are now part of the fixed range in almost every supermarket. At first glance, the plant-based alternatives seem far healthier than "real" meat - but apparently the appearance is deceptive here. Because, as a recent study by the "Öko-Test" magazine shows, many products contain harmful mineral oil and are therefore anything but recommendable.
More than 20 products in the test
More and more people do without meat for health, ecological, moral or ethical reasons and eat vegetarian or even vegan. Accordingly, the demand for alternatives such as vegetarian sausages and schnitzel, which look and taste reminiscent of products from "real" meat, has been increasing for years.
Öko-Test now checked the so-called "meat substitute products" and came to a devastating result. Only one of the 22 vegetarian products tested was rated "good", namely the organic soy schnitzel from Aldi Nord. Almost half rated the magazine "poor", eight even "insufficient", for example the "Veggie Bratwurst" from Life Food Taifun and the "Valess Filet, meat-free fillets" from Friesland Campina. "Satisfactory" were "Purvegan Albert's Lupine Schnitzel", "Alnatura Veggie Cold Cut Paprika" and "Tofutown Veggie Life Power Hacksteak".
Mineral oil residues
Almost all products contained mineral oil hydrocarbons, which presumably came into the food through the plastic packaging. They are considered harmful to health and presumably lead to organ damage - if they accumulate in the body. The concentration of mineral oil was sometimes so high that it worsened the result by four grades. Without mineral oil were, among other things, "Rügenwalder Vegetarian Ham Spicker, Bunter Pfeffer", which ended with "satisfactory" and Lidl's "My Best Veggie Vegetarian Mini Meatballs Classic". However, the bullets without meat only managed a "sufficient" without mineral oil.
Flavor enhancer Glutamate can cause headaches
Glutamate as an additive led to further deductions - the flavor enhancer causes headaches in some people. The information on the products was sometimes incorrect. "Like Meat Doner Chunks" contained the note "Without flavor enhancer", but contained spices with glutamate. Another point of criticism was the sometimes too high salt content.
Minerals and vitamins added
The providers advertise some of the products with a high content of minerals such as iron, zinc or calcium, as well as vitamins like B12. However, these are mostly added substances such as calcium alginate E404, which serves as a gelling agent.
Origin often unclear
The big discounters Aldi Nord, Penny, Edeka and Lidl bought the goods more in China, the USA and Canada than smaller manufacturers. However, providers such as Heirler and Reformhaus remained silent about the countries of origin of their products. "Albert's lupine schnitzel" performed particularly well because it uses lupine as a regional alternative to soy.
Meatless nutrition is modern as an ethical and healthy alternative to meat products. Tofu, seitan, quom, wheat gluten and the like: Hardly anyone knows what is included in meat substitutes. The seitan schnitzel, tofu sausages or soy doner don’t consist of apples, nuts and fresh vegetables: in order to get a texture that is reminiscent of burgers, steaks or fillet and also to cite the familiar taste, sugar is needed, Salt and palm fat. Too much of these substances increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and strokes.
High fat content
Some of the products contained as much fat as the imitated meat and sausage products. Aldi Süd, Topas and Edeka, who according to Ökotest, used palm or coconut oil, which due to its unsaturated fatty acids hardly contributes to a healthy diet - it is better to completely replace unhealthy palm oil.
Do it yourself
If you value vegetarian burgers, schnitzel or spreads that are also healthy, it's best to make them yourself: chickpeas, beans, tofu, whole grain cereals, olive oil or nuts offer a good basis. (Dr.Utz Anhalt, nr)