Salutations, today is Cinco De Mayo. Originally a Mexican holiday commemorating a great military victory 150 years ago, it has come to symbolize, especially in the US, Mexican heritage day. A very important piece of that heritage is the scrumptious Mexican food so abundant here, especially in the southwest.
Today we’ll take a look at guacamole, Aztec for “Avocado Sauce”. The classic dip is composed of very basic ingredients – ripe avocados, onions, lime / lemon juice, salt and pepper. Additions include chili, tomatoes, and herbs and spices. (see our easy recipe below).
So how different can a supermarket guac dip be from the basic configuration described above?
We were S H O C K E D when we laid eyes on Dean’s Guacamole Dip.
Here’s a look inside the label.
What you need to know:
The nutrition panel says:
A serving size is 2 tablespoons. Yeah right, 5 tortilla chips take care of that amount, and only then does your mouth start warming up up for more.
The so called serving counts for 90 calories and 9 grams of fat (14% of the maximum daily value). Of those 9 grams, 2.5 are saturated. Trans fat is registered at zero, but since the ingredient list includes hydrogenated vegetable oil, we find this hard to believe. Keep in mind a silly loophole in which the FDA allows manufacturers to round values lower than 0.5 grams down to 0. Theoretically there’s 0.49 grams of fat in each serving.
The sodium count is 180mg or 7% of the daily value, which is decent.
There are no concentrations of vitamins and minerals in decent quantities here. That’s a shame because avocados have a lot going for them – vitamin A, C, E and the B vitamins, as well as fiber and potassium. But not in this product.
Here is the lengthy ingredient list (All 45 of them!!!) :
Skim Milk, Soybean Oil, Tomatoes, Water, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut Oil, Safflower and/or Corn Oil), Eggs, Distilled Vinegar, Avocado Pulp, Onions, Salt, Nonfat Dry Milk, Egg Yolks, Lactic Acid, Sugar, Whey, Sodium Caseinate, Mono and Diglycerides, Gelatin, Soy Protein Isolate, Xanthan Gum, Corn Starch, Guar Gum, Mustard Flour, Black Pepper, Red Chili Pepper, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate (Added to Retard Spoilage), Coriander, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Cellulose Gel, Cellulose Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Disodium Phosphate, Cilantro, Gum Arabic, Extractives of Garlic and Black Pepper, Paprika Oil, Oregano, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid, Dextrose, Artificial Color (FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Red No. 40, FD&C Yellow No. 5, FD&C Yellow No. 6).
And a bit of explanation:
Skim Milk – why would milk be the first and most substantive ingredient in guacamole?
Soybean Oil – avocados have their own oils, real guacamole needs no additional fat.
Water – not needed if using sufficient lime juice.
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut Oil, Safflower and/or Corn Oil) - BAD – this is where evil trans fat comes from, boys and girls!
Avocado Pulp – the main ingredient in guacamole, appears here only in the 8th place! after water and vinegar. come on folks…
Lactic Acid – serves to adjust the acidity of processed food and as a preservative.
Whey – a by-product of the manufacture of cheese, sometimes used as an additive.
Sodium Caseinate – the protein part of milk.
Mono and Diglycerides – food additives used to emulsify oil and water.
Gelatin – thickens sauces
Soy Protein Isolate – used for texturing foods
Xanthan Gum (E415) – increases the viscosity of a liquid
Corn Starch – ditto
Guar Gum- ditto
Mustard Flour – mustard seeds ground up. picante anyone?
Potassium Sorbate (E202) – a preservative that inhibits yeasts and molds. Considered safe.
Sodium Benzoate (E211) – a preservative used to prevent food from molding. When mixed with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) sodium benzoate transforms into benzene, a known carcinogen and DNA damager.
Cellulose Gel – used as a stabilizer to keep whipped products fluffy,
Cellulose Gum (E466) – a thickener and stabilizer too.
Locust Bean Gum (E410) – extracted from the seeds of Carobs. Used as a thickener.
Disodium Phosphate – an anti-caking additive
Gum Arabic (E414) – from acacia trees, used as a stabilizer
Calcium Chloride (E509) – used as a preservative to maintain firmness. In large amounts may cause ulcers.
Citric Acid (E330) – used as a flavoring and preservative.
Dextrose – a type of sugar
Artificial Color (FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Red No. 40, FD&C Yellow No. 5, FD&C Yellow No. 6) – Oy vey, as they say in Mexico. Dean’s saved the “best” for last. These are all cheap artificial food colorings that have been banned in other countries. They are a suspected cause of hyperactive behavior in children.
Summary: This product is a bombshell of chemical crap.
What to do at the supermarket:
Ok, so we gave a really bad example of guacamole dip. There are some more natural formulations out there, for example Wholly Guacamole and Garden of Eatin’, but to really enjoy you need to start from fresh ripe avocado. Here is a simple guacamole recipe (serves 4-8 people):
4 ripe avocados
2 limes (lemons OK)
2 ripe tomatoes (optional)
half a medium onion
1 tbsp Dijon mustard (or more, to taste)
cilantro or Italian parsley (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1. halve the limes.
2. peel and pit the avocados, immediately squeezing 2 lime halves over the the avocado meat to prevent browning.
3. dice one avocado into quarter inch cubes, and crush the rest with the back of a fork. place in large bowl.
4. dice the tomatoes. add to bowl.
5. finely dice the onion and cilantro. add to bowl.
6. add the mustard.
7. mix everything with a wooden spoon (or your hands).
8. taste. add salt and pepper (you’ll need a bit less than normal due to the mustard)
9. douse with juice of the second lime and refrigerate till serving.
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