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Is Hummus Keto-Friendly? (& Better Substitutes)

On the ketogenic diet the goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. What about hummus, is it keto-friendly?

Hummus is a spread and dip that is commonly thought of as a Middle Eastern dish but nonetheless popular all around the world. Chickpeas are the main ingredient of this mixture.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in the example hummus is around 8.3 grams per 100 grams.

While it depends on the rest of your diet, for most people hummus is keto-friendly in small amounts but you will likely have to exercise some portion control. In any case, there are ways to make hummus that are better for staying in ketosis.

Keep in mind that a lot of store-bought hummus contains ingredients like added sugar. This makes it even less keto-friendly. Check the nutrition label of the hummus you want to buy or make your own keto-friendly hummus.

When is a food keto-friendly

The goal of the ketogenic diet is to put your body into ketosis, a state where it starts mainly burning fat as a fuel (1). This comes down to more or less getting 55%-60% of your macronutrients from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates.

For most people this comes down to eating around 20g – 50g of carbohydrates a day.

In reality, this number is different depending on a lot of factors. For example, people who exercise a lot may be able to consume more carbohydrates before getting kicked out of ketosis.

That being said that daily amount can be a good general guideline.

It is also common to exclude fiber from this amount since it doesn’t get absorbed into your body the same way as regular carbohydrates.

Hummus recipe

There are many different recipes for making hummus. The below ratio of ingredients is an example. You can definitely make more keto-friendly hummus by swapping a few ingredients. More about this later.

An example recipe for hummus would be:

  • 1 (15 oz. = 425 grams) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 2 to 4 tbsp. water
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt

This article will use the nutritional values of a slightly different recipe that has similar nutritional values to the ingredients above (2).

Carbs in hummus

100 grams of the example hummus contains the following amounts of carbs (2):

  • Total carbs: 14.3 grams
  • Of which fiber: 6.0 grams
  • Net carbs: 8.3 grams

Combined with the other foods in your diet the 8.3 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of hummus can certainly be enough to kick you out of ketosis.

One ounce of the example hummus is about 28 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 4.0 grams
  • Of which fiber: 1.7 grams
  • Net carbs: 2.3 grams

The number of net carbs in 1 ounce of hummus, 2.3 grams, is slightly easier to fit into a keto diet. Whether or not hummus is keto for you ultimately depends on how much hummus you have in mind, your individual situation, and the rest of your diet.

Carbs in chickpeas

The above amounts of net carbs are for hummus which is a mixture made from chickpeas. You can also eat chickpeas in their natural form, this will impact how keto-friendly they are.

Here is the comparison between hummus and boiled chickpeas as an example (2, 3).

Values Per 100gHummusChickpeas
Total Carbohydrates14.3 g27.4 g
Of Which Fiber6 g7.6 g
Net Carbs8.3 g19.8 g
Chart of carbs in hummus vs chickpeas

As you can see, if you decide to eat some form of chickpeas on the ketogenic diet, they are slightly better as hummus compared to just being boiled. One thing to keep in mind is that there are hummus brands that add sugar which makes it a lot less keto-friendly.

Other nutrients in hummus

Other nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals also still matter on the ketogenic diet.

100 grams of the example hummus contains the following nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 166
  • Protein: 7.9 grams
  • Carbs: 14.3 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 6 grams
  • Fat: 9.6 grams
  • Manganese: 39% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Copper: 26% of the DV
  • Folate: 21% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 18% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 18% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Even though it is slightly higher in net carbs, hummus does contain a nice amount of valuable nutrients per 100 grams compared to many other foods.

How to avoid eating too much hummus

While in reasonable portions hummus can fit in your keto diet, most people will have to exercise some portion control. Having a big bowl of hummus near you and hoping that you don’t eat too much is not the ideal way to do this.

You can avoid eating too much hummus with some of the following tips:

  • Plan ahead, how much hummus will you eat?
  • Put the planned amount in a bowl and leave the rest of the hummus out of sight
  • Don’t eat during other activities like watching TV
  • Consider not buying it if you can’t control yourself

If you notice you get out of ketosis you may need to reduce the quantity of hummus you eat.

Substitutes for regular hummus on keto

The main ingredient in hummus and the one that makes hummus less keto-friendly is chickpeas. One way to solve this is to make keto-friendly “hummus” by swapping chickpeas with a low-carb substitute. Some of the following substitutes for chickpeas may be better to make hummus on the keto diet:

  • Avocado hummus
  • Cauliflower hummus
  • Zucchini hummus
  • Almond hummus
  • Artichoke hummus

If you have trouble staying in ketosis but still have cravings for some form of hummus it may be smart to choose some of these substitutes over regular hummus.

Keto-friendly things to dip with

Most people don’t eat hummus by the tablespoon. This mixture is typically used as a dip or spread for other foods. Not all of these foods are great for staying in ketosis.

Here is a list of relatively keto-friendly foods to dip hummus with:

  • Pork rinds
  • Cheese crips
  • Low carb crackers or chips
  • Celery sticks
  • Cucumbers
  • Mini peppers

With some of these examples you will also have to exercise some portion control to stay in ketosis.

What is your goal with keto?

Even in some cases, a small amount of hummus added to certain daily diets can potentially put you just over the net carbs border, out of ketosis. Depending on the goal you have with keto this may or may not be a problem.

If your goal is to stay strictly in ketosis 24/7 you want to be careful about your carbohydrate intake.

If your goal is to lose weight and become healthier, hummus can be a good food option even if it potentially puts you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level.