Beans are the New Superfood

Move over Kale! Beans are the new superfood. Food companies are looking for ways to make money and entice you to eat ” healthier snacks”.  Below are excerpts from an article in the WSJ.

Beans are the new kale. More than 2,500 new food products touted pulses, a category that refers to beans and other dry-harvested legumes including chickpeas, lentils and peas, in 2017. That marks an 11% increase from 2016, according to Innova Market Insights, which tracks new foods. At the same time, products containing kale declined 15% and “ancient grains” like quinoa dipped 7%.

More than ever, food companies roll out waves of trendy ingredients to compete with one another.

Chickpeas are appearing in the snack aisle, black beans are in pastas and peas are a featured ingredient in substitutes for milk and meat. Pulses are a modern food marketer’s dream. They’re plant-based, a source of protein and naturally gluten-free.

 About 36% of consumers say they are eating more plant based meals these days, according to a 2017 survey of 2,000 adults by Packaged Facts, a Rockville, Md.-based market research firm. About one-fifth also reported cutting back on red meat.

While a half-cup serving of black beans, pinto beans or chickpeas contains about 7 grams of protein—a considerable source from the plant world, it is still not as protein-dense as meat. A 3-ounce serving of chicken breast has 27 grams of protein, while a 3-ounce serving of lean ground beef has 22 grams.

With the growing number of salty snacks containing ingredients such as black beans and chickpeas, consumers might be tempted to munch more. You should still continue to take note of serving sizes and ingredients, nutritionists say. A 1-ounce serving of Frito-Lay’s Off the Eaten Path Olive oil & Herb hummus crisps contain slightly more sodium, at 230 milligrams, than a 1-ounce serving of Nacho Cheese Doritos, which contain 210 milligrams.

“People need to read labels,” Dr. Davis says. A 1-ounce serving of hummus crisps still contains 130 calories and 5 grams of fat. “If you eat three or four times the serving size, that’s going to add up.”

What do I think about this ?

  1. These foods are processed and do not take the place of whole fresh foods
  2. Snacks… Our digestive systems need a break. We are not designed to snack all day.
  3. Check the labels for high sodium and other mystery ingredients
  4. Beans contain lectins: That means that no everyone can digest these pulses well.
  5. They are made by big food companies who are savvy marketers.  They are experts in using language and graphics to  entice you to eat more processed foods.
  6. A bag of chickpea crisps are great for a road trip where it can be challenging to have fresh food on hand
  7. Eat beans and legumes in their natural form. Choose organic and soak well before cooking.
  8. Last but not least these snack type foods are a better food choice than something loaded with sugar .

Have a Healthy Week, snack with caution and like us on FB!

Dr Pia