Feb 15, 2008 11:06am AnnNYC wrote:
Jen, this is a tough question!
I'm assuming hummus = chickpeas. So I googled "phytoestrogen" and "chickpeas."
I saw one page from a hospital in India that flat-out says "chickpeas do not contain phytoestrogens and therefore are highly recommended for children."
I saw zillions of pages saying that chickpeas DO contain phytoestrogens, but none were actual investigative scientific reports, more like nutritional advice pages. So I thought it might just be "conventional wisdom" -- something "everybody knows" because chickpeas are legumes, as are soybeans.
But then I found reports from a scientific meeting (Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture) which said:
"The phytoestrogens found in chickpeas were biochanin A and formonetin. The total phytoestrogen levels found in chickpea samples ranged from 0.5 to 3.2 mg/100g. The levels of phytoestrogen in soybean range between 36 to 237 mg/100g. Chickpeas had the highest levels (123-141 mg/100g) of phytosterols and... exceeded the levels found in soybean (50 mg/100g)... The folic acid results show that chickpeas (54 µg/100g) can supply approximately a quarter of the daily requirements for Australian females and approximately an eighth of the daily requirement for pregnant women. The folic acid levels in soybean are around 111 µg/100g."
[from page 22 of http://www.clima.uwa.edu.au/__data/page/918/abstracts2002.pdf]
So chickpeas have AT MOST only a tenth of the phytoestrogens that soybeans do -- and possibly as little as 2 tenths of a percent (2 thousandths).
I'm not up on nutrition enough to know whether phytosterols or folic acid are considered good or bad with respect to BC -- chickpeas have more phytosterols than soybeans and half as much folic acid.