VEGANS have the worst diets, a study suggests.
The more they avoided meat, butter, cheese and milk, the more processed foods they consumed.
They are also less likely to cook from scratch.
A poll found microwave meals, pastries, cakes, sugary drinks and cereals made up 39 per cent of a vegan’s diet.
For veggies it was 37 per cent and 33 per cent for meat eaters.
Previous studies linked processed food to heart disease and cancer.
The team at Sorbonne University in Paris polled more than 21,000 adults.
Researchers said processed foods included ‘industrial plant-based meat substitutes’ – such as veggie burgers – made with flavouring agents, colourings and other chemicals.
In a report on the findings they warned vegan and vegetarian diets may be much less healthy than consumers think – especially as they are likely to lead to an increase in snacking.
‘Not all vegetarian diets necessarily have health benefits,’ they said.
‘In our study, vegetarians preferred unhealthy products to healthy products – for example, we found they had a higher consumption of salty snacks and biscuits.
‘This means they could have the same risk of developing health problems as non-vegetarians.
‘Guidelines are needed for this group to limit their consumption of these foods and to promote healthy plant-based diets.’
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