Showing posts with label store hummus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label store hummus. Show all posts

Sunday, July 9, 2023


So here's a really interesting article I decided to share as I think it's worthy and should hopefully get as many reader as possible. Also, please log on to the original link and like them  in the

I felt it's important to share this brilliant article by Kay Braeburnl, as it touches on something that I wrote about years ago and I'm happy more food journalist are writing about now.
While Kay was writing about the unhealthiest store bought Hummus - I was writing about the fact that many of the spreads in Stores today aren't actually hummus and aren't healthy.
Hummus means chickpeas in both Arabic and in modern Hebrew slang. Hummus spread means a spread made by Chickpeas.
The way to make this spread is very very basic and anyone can do it even at home. There's a few secrets to great hummus and one of them is how one cooks the chickpeas and what additional veggies and other seasoning is cooked with the chickpeas to give them a special flavor.

The problem is that as Hummus has become popular in the US - many stores have used the word as a substitute for any spread that is a bit grainier than peanut butter. 

That's how they came up with Chocolate Hummus made without chickpeas, Avocado Hummus made without chickpeas,  Onion Hummus made from Onions rather than chickpeas etc...

Imagine a world where Peanut butter was made from everything except peanuts ( Would Americans Buy Avocado Peanut Butter or Onion Peanut Butter ? )

Somehow with Hummus people don't care maybe cause they don't fully understand the literal word Hummus as meaning chick peas.

Remember Seinfeld's Frozen Yogurt episode anyone?  I put a shortened version up above.

If you want to eat a dark fatty chocolate spread do it - but why must you call it Hummus? If you want to eat a guacamole spread but hate the fat - why call it Hummus?

While Hummus has a lot of fat - it also has many nutritional elements - once the chickpeas, olive oil, tehina and the other components are gone are dilluted with other ingredients like chocolate Guacamole or even lots of preservatives  - all that's left is a spread not associated with Hummus and many times it is truly unhealthy.

I believe thanks to reporters like Kay  - more people will start realizing they must only buy Hummus that is made the traditional way and that does aspire to be the healthier spread rather than a whatever we found and could sell as a packaged good.

Sadly, what Kay's story also shows is that today even some traditional Store bought Hummus isn't what one would consider health and has many elements that destroy it's reputation built over thousands of years.

Enjoy reading the article.

The 10 Unhealthiest Store-Bought Hummus Brands

By Kay Braeburn|
June 14, 2023 4:30 pm EST

Hummus is healthy, right? That's the assumption. This has made it a go-to snack for folks trying to eat healthier and vegetarians looking for a convenient source of protein. If you stick to a traditional hummus recipe, it is a filling, nutrient-dense addition to your diet that's low in sugar and unhealthy fats. A 2020 study in Nutrients on the benefits of hummus in the American diet showed that consuming it was connected to healthier glycemic control (both short and long-term) and was seen to "improve cardiovascular health through the lowering of cholesterol, lipid, and blood pressure levels." Hummus should be healthy. 

That said, some pre-packaged hummus brands have gone off-book by adding sugars, heaps of salt, and cheaper oils that aren't as heart-healthy. This list will help you avoid the worst offenders.

Do keep in mind that when compared to many snacks, even the unhealthiest store-bought hummus brands still offer more nutritional value than something like a bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos. But choose your brand wisely.

1. Ithaca: Grillo's Pickles Hummus

Be sure to read labels when buying Ithaca brand hummus if you're watching your sodium intake; the Grillo's Pickles flavor is one of the worst offenders. The second ingredient after chickpeas is Grillo's pickles, and dill and garlic were also added for an extra kick of pickle flavor. If you're looking for your hummus to taste like pickles, this one delivers, but pickles are a salty flavor and that's going to drive up the sodium content.

How much salt should be in your hummus? Dietitian Lindsey Pine told Time to aim for hummus brands with 80 milligrams of sodium per 2-tablespoon serving at the very most. A 2-tablespoon serving of Grillo's Pickles hummus contains a whopping 230 milligrams of sodium. Ithaca's Buffalo Ranch flavor also has 230 milligrams of sodium. That's a lot of salt considering that according to the Harvard School of Public Health, we generally need 500 milligrams of sodium per day; with this Ithaca hummus, you've just eaten about half of that in 2 tablespoons.

That doesn't mean you're stuck with only ever eating plain hummus (even though plain hummus is delicious). There are lots of options for additions that will take your hummus up a notch that aren't salt bombs like chopped pickles.

2. Good & Gather: Jalapeno Avocado Hummus

The main ingredients of hummus are traditionally chickpeas and tahini with some recipes adding a small amount of heart-healthy olive oil. This keeps the dip relatively low in fat but Good & Gather has other plans. The ingredient list for Jalapeno Avocado Hummus is worrying as it shows there is more water, avocado, and canola oil than there is tahini; it also contains 6 grams of fat per serving.

Something containing fat does not automatically make it unhealthy; what matters is the type of fat. If you're adding oil to hummus, olive oil is the conventional choice and has health advantages while canola oil does not. Olive oil is considered heart-healthy and is also packed with antioxidants, which provide a wide range of health benefits. While canola oil isn't the worst oil out there for your heart, it does not provide you with beneficial antioxidants. In fact, a study published in Lipids in Health and Disease showed that when rats consumed it, their antioxidant levels actually decreased.

On top of the substitution of canola oil instead of olive oil, Good & Gather's line of hummus lacks nutrients like calcium. The brand also has a Brownie Batter Dessert Hummus, which is packed with brown sugar, agave nectar, and chocolate chips. Tasty? Yes. Healthy? Not necessarily. 

3. Lantana: Dark Chocolate Hummus

With an eye toward providing exciting flavor choices, Lantana has strayed far from hummus' healthy roots. This Dark Chocolate Hummus is made with a base of chickpeas but nothing after that is what you would consider hummus. The next few ingredients are water, canola oil, cocoa powder, and three different sweeteners. The label claims that the hummus is "sweetened with dates," and that is true, but that seems to imply that dates are the only sweetener, which is not true. The hummus also contains brown sugar and agave syrup. In case you still weren't sure if this is a good lunch option, the next ingredient is literal dark chocolate chips.

Traditionally, hummus has no added sugar while this one totals up to 5 grams of it. To put that in perspective, 1 teaspoon of plain white sugar is about 4 grams. The serving size is 2 tablespoons (6 teaspoons), so for every 5 teaspoons of hummus, there's a heaping teaspoon of sugar.

By omitting tahini altogether, Lantana has reduced the amount of protein you expect to find in hummus by half. The brand has also added the preservative potassium sorbate. Pam Fullenweider, R.D., M.S. told Prevention that people should avoid "pre-made hummus crafted with preservatives like potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate." While the FDA considers potassium sorbate to be a safe food additive, a 2010 study in Toxicology In Vitro showed that potassium sorbate is genotoxic to certain cells in our blood. Genotoxic means that it directly damages the DNA of cells, which can lead to mutations. No, thank you.

4. Haig's Delicacies: Hummus Rich and Creamy

This hummus proves that even if a brand sticks to a traditional recipe, the proportions can greatly affect the healthiness of the end result. Haig's Delicacies Rich & Creamy Hummus has no oils added and includes a classic ingredient list of only chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, water garlic, spices, and sea salt. Seems like it would be a healthy choice, right? Well, the fat content of hummus is mostly determined by the proportion of tahini to chickpeas. The more tahini, the higher the fat.

Tahini is a paste made by grinding up toasted sesame seeds. Comparing the nutrition of equal amounts of chickpeas and tahini, they're about equal when it comes to protein and fiber, but 2 tablespoons of chickpeas have 1.5 grams of fat while 2 tablespoons of tahini have 16 grams of fat. You can see how altering the proportions can make a huge difference

This flavor is called Rich & Creamy and it certainly delivers richness with twice the typical fat content, coming in at 5 grams with 1 gram being saturated fat. Hummus is typically calorie dense, which is fine but because tahini doesn't offer significantly more protein or vitamins than chickpeas, increasing the ratio of tahini increases the fat without any improvement in nutrition. 

5. Sabra: Caramelized Onion Hummus

Not only is hummus good for improving your cardiovascular health and managing blood sugar levels but it's also packed with vitamins and minerals –- or at least it should be but that's not always the case. Sabra's Caramelized Onion Hummus, for example, is not.

According to The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus, a 2016 study published in Nutrients, "consumers of chickpeas and/or hummus have been shown to have higher nutrient intakes of dietary fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and iron as compared to non-consumers." This is a great reason to add hummus into your diet until you pick up a package from Sabra and see that it, somehow, appears to not be as nutrient-dense as you'd expect. The nutritional facts list calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin D with a zero for all of them. Sabre seems to have removed the nutritional value that would normally be found in chickpeas and tahini while also adding extra sunflower oil (enough to bump the fat content up to 6 grams) as well as brown sugar.

6. Fresh Cravings: Honey Jalapeno Hummus

Fresh Cravings Hummus has multiple things working against it in the quest to be considered a healthy option. One is that all of the brand's hummus flavors use a blend of canola and olive oils. As a blend, you don't know the ratio of canola oil to olive oil. Another is the brand's use of honey and sugar in its Honey Jalapeno flavor.

The biggest issue is that all of Fresh Cravings' hummus offerings contain potassium benzoate and potassium sorbate, two preservatives some people work to avoid. Technically there's nothing so terrible about potassium benzoate on its own. It's a synthetic preservative and, while some people prefer to avoid it, it isn't likely to cause issues at approved levels. It can, however, convert to become the chemical benzene in the presence of ascorbic acid. The CDC says that benzene is a cancer-causing chemical that can be found in cigarette smoke, industrial emissions, hazardous waste sites, and car exhaust. It also can interfere with bone marrow function and cause a range of health issues. 

7. Boar's Head: Traditional Hummus

This Traditional Hummus by Boar's Head is hiding a high level of fat compared to other brands at 7 grams per serving. There are so many other options for plain hummus that are better for you.

The jump in fat content is likely due to its ingredients list beginning with chickpeas, water, sunflower oil, olive oil, and then tahini. Ideally, you'd want there to be less olive oil than tahini in a hummus and you wouldn't want extra oils in it at all. The medical journal Foods published a 2022 study comparing the health effects of olive oil versus sunflower oils and the results showed that consuming olive oil was correlated to improved cardiovascular health while sunflower oils were not.

If you already have to go light on portions, you'd hope it would be nutrient-packed but this hummus brand also lacks calcium, iron, and potassium. Other flavors of Boar's Head hummus either omit the olive oil (Sweet Chili Garlic Hummus) or the tahini (Apple Pie Dessert Hummus) but add in refined sugar.

8. Taste of Inspirations: Original Hummus

Taste of Inspirations is meddling with the traditional hummus recipe by adding more oil than tahini in its flavors and producing hummus with lower levels of vitamins and minerals. Sunflower oil is the second ingredient followed by olive oil, and only after that does tahini shows up. Several of the flavors feature those two oils as the second and third ingredients and, as previously mentioned, sunflower oil doesn't have the same cardiovascular benefits as olive oil. Taste of Inspirations also uses guar gum, a thickening agent, to artificially change the texture of a food that should be plenty creamy on its own.

The nutrition across the board is very inconsistent. Some are greatly lacking vitamins and minerals like calcium and iron while others aren't. Several flavors have sodium levels in the 100-milligram to 150-milligram range, which is above the recommended 80 milligrams. In the Dark Chocolate Hummus, the second ingredient is sugar and it has only half the protein of others. Instead of having to check all the labels, it would be easier to skip this brand altogether. 

9. 365: Original Hummus

There's this idea that shopping at Whole Foods for hummus means you're getting safer, higher quality foods — sort of like how you think eating hummus is guaranteed to be healthy. It appears that both may be wrong. In 2020, the Environmental Working Group ordered testing of popular hummus brands and dried chickpeas to check for the presence of the weedkiller glyphosate. If that chemical name sounds familiar that's because it's the active ingredient in RoundUp, the herbicide that studies as recently as 2021 have linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. 

365, a Whole Foods brand hummus beat all the hummus products tested to win first place. However, placing first in weedkiller levels is not typically what you're hoping for in a food product. Fortunately, by comparing the testing results to the FDA's allowed range of glyphosate, while this hummus contains significantly higher levels than the majority of the others tested, it's still solidly within the allowed range so the chances of it actually causing harm are minimal. Still though, knowing that this brand has more herbicide residue than others may mean you'll want to choose a different brand.

10. Marketside: Dark Chocolate Hummus

When a hummus has a chickpea base but with sugar as the second ingredient, you can't classify it as healthy. This Walmart brand Dark Chocolate Hummus is lacking in tahini and as a result, only has half the protein benefit as other hummus options. All of the brand's flavors use alternative oils like sunflower oil and the even less healthy canola oil so you're losing out on all the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of traditional olive oil.

The third ingredient common in the Marketplace brand is water to dilute the mixture; this brand's flavors also have guar gum on the ingredient list, which is typically used as a thickener. Thinning the hummus out and then adding a thickener might explain why this Marketplace's hummus tends to be low on things like calcium and potassium. Some flavors have perfectly reasonable salt levels while others, like the Everything Hummus, have 135 milligrams. Ultimately, if you want to control the ingredients going into your hummus to be sure it's healthy, it's probably better to just make it yourself.

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