‘Healthy’ dips contain more salt than 4 bags of crisps

Three-quarters of hummus products have a traffic light label red warning for fat

Hummus and other seemingly healthy savoury supermarket dips are “salt and fat traps” loaded with calories, according to a study. Some contain more salt than four packets of crisps, the survey by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) found.

The UK survey of 210 chilled dips from the major supermarket chains found taramasalata was the saltiest with an average salt content of 1.25g per 100g compared with salsa which was the least salty, containing an average 0.49g per 100g.

The most commonly sold dip is hummus, but none of the 108 products in the survey carried a green label for salt.

Three-quarters of hummus products (74 per cent) have a traffic light label red warning for fat.

Hummus, made predominantly from chickpeas, also contains on average 280 calories per 100g – more than 10 per cent of the recommended daily intake for women, Cash found.

One of the saltiest hummus dips was Tesco’s Caramelised Onion Hummus (1.6g per 100g), while Marks & Spencer’s version of the same product contained 1.53g per 100g, the equivalent of more than four packets of ready salted crisps.

HSE guidelines say adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day, about one teaspoon.

Products containing lower levels included Tesco Tzatziki (0.4g) and Lidl Red Pepper Hummus (0.4g). Others included salsa (The Co-Operative, 0.3g), guacamole (Waitrose, 0.4g) and sour cream and chive dip (Waitrose, 0.25g)

“Once again we demonstrate the unnecessary amounts of salt and fat being added by the food industry to what could be a healthy product,” said Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Cash.

“A diet high in salt leads to strokes and heart disease, the commonest cause of death in the UK.

One of the saltiest hummus dips was Marks & Spencer’s Caramelised Onion Hummus containing more salt per 100g (1.53g) than four packets of ready salted crisps and over a quarter of the daily maximum recommended intake for salt.

Of all the dips surveyed, taramasalata was the saltiest with an average salt content of 1.25g per 100g compared to salsa which was the least salty (average 0.49g per 100g).

There was also a large variation in salt content within the same dip category. The salt content in hummus dips ranged from 0.43g per 100g (Lidl Red Pepper Hummus) to 1.6g per 100g (Tesco Caramelised Onion Hummus). When compared to 100g of KP original salted peanuts, the latter is saltier.

Examples of products with high levels of salt per 100g include:

Tesco Caramelised Onion Hummus - 1.6g

Marks & Spencer Caramelised Onion Hummus - 1.53g

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