Martin Freeman gives up on vegetarianism after 38 years

Actor Martin Freeman has revealed he has turned his back on vegetarianism, 38 years after he stopped eating meat.

The 52-year-old Sherlock and The Office actor said he went vegetarian as a teenager in January 1986 because he "was never comfortable with the idea of eating animals".

But he said he had gone back to eating meat because their replacements can be "very, very processed".

"I'm trying to eat less processed food," he said on the Dish podcast with Nick Grimshaw and professional chef Angela Hartnett.

The podcast sees guests sit down for a meal with the hosts - and Hartnett's bolognese was on the menu for the latest episode.

Freeman said it could be the first "proper" bolognese he had ever had, although he said his mum was a "pretty good cook".

Going back to an omnivore diet was a "really new" thing in the last couple of months, he said.

He said he "always had veggie replacements" which he described as "lovely".

"It's a funny one, because I like meat replacement things, but my reservation about them is that they can be very, very processed."

Alarm bells have been sounded about ultra-processed foods, with studies warning they may increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

However, a recent study found plant-based meat and dairy alternatives have lower levels of saturated fat and higher fibre than their animal-derived counterparts.

The researchers found that while plant-based alternatives "technically" fall under the category of ultra-processed foods (UPFs), the nutritional value of some products aligns with dietary recommendations.

However, they warned nutritional value can vary considerably between products.

Read more:
Olivia Rodrigo gigs cancelled at chaos-hit venue
Beyonce among celebrities added to French dictionary

Host Nick Grimshaw also revealed how his flirtation with plant-based eating ended.

He said he ate a mostly vegan diet while living with a vegan friend - but had to "break my veganism" when he spotted a scotch egg at a party.

Freeman also talked about enjoying scotch eggs since going back to eating meat, calling those and pork pies "food of the gods".