As an ardent traditionalist, am always excited to talk about ancient dishes, even though they are now outnumbered by modern delicacies.
When you compare the contemporary meals we have today with the ones consumed during ancient times, you will observe a huge difference both in terms of nutrients and assortments. While most people are more comfortable with the former, there are certain ancient dishes that are still very much relevant now.
That’s why am very excited to talk about hummus today.
So to answer the question straightaway – is hummus keto – here is what you should know.
Unprocessed hummus is bad on a keto diet due to its high carb content. However, you can make your own legume-free low carb hummus with keto-friendly ingredients.
Is Hummus Keto? A Little Background
Though a minority, hummus is not a rare delicacy in the 21st century. In fact, it’s one of the most delicious Middle Eastern food widely consumed by Americans today. In 2008 alone, a study revealed that more than 15 million Americans had hummus on their regular meal schedule. Obviously, this number should have grown to two times (or maybe close) by now. It could be more, but since am not really interested in getting into all that.
But despite hummus popularity in America and other places, there are still other dips like salsa that got it beat by a landslide.
Whatever the figures say, it just shows that hummus is still embraced today just as it was so many years ago which is why it’s commonly seen in many shopping carts.
Much of this popularity can be attributed to its many health benefits, especially for vegans and vegetarians.
But can we say the same for keto-ers? Is it really appropriate to feature hummus on a keto diet?
Today, I intend to examine this go-to health food and whether it’s keto-friendly or not.
Without wasting any more time, let’s delve in:
What is Hummus?
If a nutrition contest for dips was to be organized, am very sure Hummus will win the prize for the “best all-round” dip, even though salsa will come out more popular.
Hummus is simply an Egyptian dip traditionally made from mashed chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and maybe spices like paprika or sumac. But other types of legumes may also be used besides pureed chickpeas. Tahini is said to taste a bit like peanut butter and may be replaced by the latter when not available. In fact, from experience, I think the use of natural peanut butter actually works more beautifully. But of course, this is not the American style.
The consumption of hummus can be dated all the way back to the 13th century when it was made from the basic ingredients mentioned above. However, today, it comes in all kinds of flavors, ranging from classic to herb flavors. As a result, you will find it as a staple dip in most grocery stores.
Like I said earlier, the major reason why hummus has remained a prevalent dish for decades is due to its interesting health benefits.
Chickpea, which is the primary ingredient of hummus is extremely rich in protein. It’s also a significant source of carbohydrate and zinc. And just like other legumes, it has a high fiber content.
Due to their low glycemic index, chickpeas are highly recommended for diabetic patience.
In the same way, tahini contains a significant amount of methionine, a very important amino acid. This together with the chickpeas, is responsible for the incredibly high amount of protein in hummus.
As a result, hummus is viewed as an important food for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores, especially when combined with bread. In this case, it’s almost full protein.
This explains why it’s considered a superfood in the health space. But most of the time it’s used as an appetizer or a side dish.
Like I said earlier, the predominant flavor of hummus is chickpeas, but there are definitely other options. I personally serve mine with sourdough, pita, or veggies, but I’ve also heard of a group that uses raw onion slices. Other popular flavors include rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil pesto. But believe me, it’s even more complex.
On the whole, hummus is an incredible dish. It is delicious and loaded with a lot of protein, dietary fiber, and heart-healthy fats, which are all great for your well-being.
Types of Hummus
Besides being great for diabetics, hummus is also important for healthy weight loss. A single serving of the traditional dish contains over 400 calories which include important nutrients like fat, carbs, fiber, and protein.
But this is only the traditional hummus dish.
At this point, I want to make it clear that there are basically two types of hummus – traditional and processed hummus.
Traditional hummus contains unprocessed, all-natural ingredients while the Processed hummus is filled with processed ingredients. The major difference between both types of hummus is that the former is rich in nutrients while the latter often feature ingredients that are harmful to your health.
This simply means that not all hummus is created equal. So the next time you plan to visit a grocery store, you might want to remember that.
The ingredients commonly featured in most packaged hummus are processed beans, vegetable oil, and other artificial ingredients, which are damaging to your health.
For instance, processed vegetable oils are considered as artificial trans fats, which can potentially worsen your health when consumed. This includes but not limited to increased risk of heart disease, cancer. inflammation, and gut disease.
I guess you now know why processed hummus is bad for you. This is in contrast to the amazing health benefits of traditional hummus. But what about its suitability for keto? Is hummus keto friendly?
Before answering this question, I think it would be more appropriate to look at the carb and macro constituents of hummus.
Carbs and Macros in Hummus
When transiting to a food like hummus, it’s always a good idea to examine the amount of carb it has especially if you’re on a low carb diet. Interestingly, the carbs in hummus form a crucial part of a well-balanced diet and are just as important as the healthy fats found in the food.
Hummus is a complex carbohydrate, and as such, it takes longer to get digested in the body. This means that it won’t push up your blood sugar level as processed carbs do. Our bodies essentially need carbs for energy. However, just like fat, carbs do not particularly have a good reputation. But notwithstanding, they are important macro-nutrients. And we need a lot of them to stay energized all day long, especially when you’re involved in a lot of stressful activities.
But you must also avoid eating too many unnecessary carbs. Introducing veggies is a good way to go on a low-carb diet.
On the whole, traditional hummus is filled with a lot of carbs from legumes, even though it also contains some important micro-nutrients. Given the nature of keto, such high carb content is usually not recommended.
So, is Hummus Keto Friendly?
If you were to consume six teaspoons of unprocessed hummus as a snack throughout the whole day, that would equate to around 150 calories plus 12.5g of carbs and 7g of net carbs. Of course, this also includes a different amount of fats, protein, and dietary fiber.
7g of net carbs might not sound too much, but believe me, it’s enough to disrupt your ketogenic state. This is because this amount is more than the daily requirement of a standard keto diet. So except you’re looking to increase carb intake, you might want to avoid traditional hummus by all means.
However, if you are like me, – I just can’t do without hummus – then there are a few ways you could work around this problem.
You can either adopt the targeted keto diet or the cyclical option and increase your daily carb count in order to fit in hummus.
The targeted keto diet, which is meant for highly active individuals allows you to add up to 20-50g of carbs to the normal count before and after your workout sessions.
The cyclical options are meant for individuals who engage in higher intensity workouts, such as bodybuilders and athletes. It follows a typical standard keto diet for the first five or six days of the week, while the remaining one or two days is used for carb backloading, which usually involves the consumption of higher-carb foods.
But what if you don’t want to keep to a standard or cyclical diet, but still want to make your hummus keto friendly? I will tell you how I do it.
The best piece of advice I can offer you in this regard would be to prepare your own homemade hummus. This way you would be able to replace the usual chickpeas with low carb ingredients such as cauliflower, artichokes, or avocado.
If you don’t have the time to make your own hummus, you can still purchase from the market. But beware, most of these products contain bad ingredients that are terrible for your health. You should only go for high-quality brands.
So like I said at the beginning of this article, unprocessed hummus is bad on a keto diet due to its high carb content. If you want to add keto and legume-free low carb hummus together, then you should use keto-friendly ingredients.
Below are some recipe ideas…
- One Cauliflower (medium size)
- Tahini (1/3 cup)
- Half teaspoon of smoked paprika (or any similar spices)
- Two cloves of garlic (make sure they are crushed)
- Two teaspoons of cumin
- One tablespoon of olive oil
- One teaspoon of salt
- Separate the florets from cauliflower, then preheat the oven you intend to use to about 180C (355F).
- Next, get your baking tray ready and place the cauliflower on it.
- Cover the cauliflower with your cumin and bake for 30 mins to dry the cauliflower. This could take longer.
- When all the water in the cauliflower has dried off, remove the cauliflower and place it into a blend. Then blend until it becomes chunky.
- Next add your garlic, tahini, salt, and paprika. Then blend again.
- Your cauliflower hummus is ready. Serve with a covering of olive oil and coriander.
Total Carbs: 10g
- One cup of Macadamia nuts (it should not contain salt)
- One whole avocado (ideally, a large one)
- Two gloves of garlic (should be sliced)
- Two tablespoons of tahini paste
- Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Half teaspoon of sea salt
- Three tablespoons of fresh lime juice
- Fresh cilantro (optional)
- Pour the macadamia nuts into any suitable container, then add clean water. Make sure the water fills the container until the nuts are submerged.
- Then soak the mixture and allow to stay for at least two hours or you can leave it overnight. This should be done at room temperature.
- Next strain the macadamia and rinse. You can get rid of the soaking liquid.
- Now peel the avocado and remove the seed. Also, peel the garlic and slice. You can add fresh cilantro if you like.
- Smoothen all the ingredients together and transfer to a bowl, then add a covering of olive oil. You can garnish with cilantro leaves.
- Then serve with one or more fresh vegetables such as pepper or carrots.
- Store away in the fridge for up to five days. Make sure you use a container that is airtight.
Total Carbs: 5.9g