That snack with a vegan halo might need a health warning

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That snack with a vegan halo might need a health warning

A meat-free meal doesn’t mean it’s better for you, so we asked nutrition experts to put five favourites to the test

Luke Mintz

When Venus Williams went vegan in 2011, health was her primary concern. The five-time Wimbledon champion had been diagnosed earlier that year with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes joint pain and fatigue, and her doctor suggested it might be a good idea to adopt a “raw vegan” lifestyle. She obliged, cutting out all meat, eggs and dairy.

And she is not alone: in a survey of more than 12,000 vegans, carried out across 97 countries by the plant-based lifestyle website Vomad in 2019, 17.4% named health as their primary motivation for abandoning animal products, second only to animal welfare, which was picked out by 68%.

But now experts are warning that vegan labels are shining an inappropriate “health halo” around heavily processed products that are best left avoided...

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