Your 'Healthy' Hummus Could Contain More Salt Than Four Bags of Chips
Consensus Action on Salt and Health surveyed 210 of Britain’s most popular chilled dips and found that many contain worryingly high levels of salt.
Bad news for anyone looking to slim down by loading their carrot sticks and toast with beetroot dip in lieu of other more calorific delights. Or anyone who has ever found themselves eating hummus straight from the pot with bare hands (look, Wednesdays are hard sometimes).
According to a new survey from campaign group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), the "healthy" dips we've been warding off our hunger pangs/midweek breakdowns with may not be as virtuous as they appear.
Researchers from CASH surveyed 210 chilled dips sold by major British supermarkets. These included hummus, guacamole, salsa, taramasalata, and tzatziki.
They found that taramasalata, made from salted cod roe, was … er, salty. It had an average salt content of 1.25 grams per 100 grams—a big dent in the 6 grams a day limit recommended by the NHS.
But it wasn't just obviously salty dips with high levels of the white stuff. None of the 108 hummuses tested by CASH (dream job?) carried a green traffic light label for salt content and a pot from Marks & Spencer was found to contain 1.53 grams of salt per 100 grams—more than that found in four packets of ready salted chips.
A baba ganoush from global dip brand Sabra and a Moorish aubergine dip also made it into the top five for salt content.
CASH hope that their findings will raise awareness of the health dangers posed by "hidden" salt. Speaking to the Guardian, Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and the chairman of CASH, said: "Once again, we demonstrate the unnecessary amounts of salt and fat being added by the food industry to what could be a healthy product. A diet high in salt leads to strokes and heart disease, the commonest cause of death in the UK."
CASH also advised consumers to try and avoid eating entire tubs in one go.
Easier said than done.