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Is hummus good for you?

Hummus is a creamy spread or dip made from chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, and spices. It originates from Middle Eastern cuisine and has become popular worldwide. With its high content of protein, fiber, and healthy fats, hummus is generally considered a nutritious food. But is hummus really good for you? Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional benefits and drawbacks of hummus.

Nutritional Profile of Hummus

The main ingredient in hummus is chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Chickpeas are packed with nutrients:

  • Protein – Chickpeas contain around 8 grams of protein per half cup serving. This makes hummus an excellent vegetarian protein source.
  • Fiber – Half a cup of chickpeas provides about 6 grams of fiber. Most of this is insoluble fiber which promotes digestive health.
  • Carbs – Chickpeas are relatively high in carbs with about 22 grams per half cup. The carbs are slowly digested though, resulting in stable blood sugar levels.
  • Fat – Chickpeas contain healthy unsaturated fats including oleic acid, the main fat found in olive oil. They are low in saturated fat.
  • Vitamins and minerals – Chickpeas provide a variety of vitamins and minerals including iron, folate, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins C, E and K.

Tahini, another key hummus ingredient, is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. Like chickpeas, tahini packs a big nutritional punch:

  • Protein – About 3.5 grams of protein per tablespoon of tahini.
  • Healthy fats – Rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which protect heart health.
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – Important for converting food into energy.
  • Calcium – 2 tablespoons provides 64 mg of calcium, important for bones.
  • Magnesium – Necessary for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.

Olive oil, another staple hummus ingredient, contains antioxidants called polyphenols which combat inflammation and may protect against heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes.

Benefits of Hummus

Eating hummus offers many health perks. Here are some of the top ways hummus can benefit your health:

1. Good plant-based protein

Two tablespoons of hummus provides around 3 grams of protein. This makes hummus an excellent choice for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone looking to eat less meat.

2. High in fiber

With about 2-3 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoon serving, hummus can help reach the recommended 25-30 grams of fiber per day. The fiber in hummus promotes digestive regularity and gut health.

3. Rich in vitamins and minerals

Hummus provides several important micronutrients including:

  • Manganese – An antioxidant mineral involved in nutrient metabolism.
  • Folate – Important for cell growth and DNA formation.
  • Iron – Needed to transport oxygen around the body.
  • Magnesium – Essential for bone health and energy production.

4. Heart healthy fats

The chickpeas, olive oil, and tahini in hummus all provide healthy fats that protect your heart:

  • Monounsaturated fats
  • Polyunsaturated omega-6 and omega-3 fats
  • No trans or saturated fats

5. May benefit blood sugar control

Despite being moderately high in carbs, the fiber and protein in hummus helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Studies show hummus has a low glycemic index, meaning it does not cause sharp spikes in blood sugar compared to other high-carb foods.

Potential Drawbacks of Hummus

While loaded with nutrition, hummus does come with some possible drawbacks:


Hummus is made from chickpeas, tahini (sesame seeds), olive oil, and sometimes wheat. So it contains common food allergens and is not suitable for anyone with legume, sesame, olive, or wheat allergy.

High in Omega-6 Fatty Acids

The olive oil and tahini in hummus provide omega-6 polyunsaturated fats. Consuming too many omega-6s compared to anti-inflammatory omega-3s may promote inflammation.

Often High in Sodium

Many store-bought hummus brands are loaded with sodium to act as a preservative. High sodium intake is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and other health risks. Check labels and choose low-sodium varieties when possible.

Easy to Overeat

Hummus is so creamy and delicious that it’s easy to overdo your portion sizes, driving up calorie and fat intake. Stick to about 2 tablespoons per serving.

Is Hummus Fattening?

At around 80-100 calories and 5-7 grams of fat per 2 tablespoon serving, hummus can be fattening if eaten in large quantities. But enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy diet, hummus is unlikely to lead to weight gain.

Here’s how the calories and fat in 2 tablespoons of hummus compare to other dips and spreads:

Food Calories Total Fat (g)
2 Tbsp hummus 80 5
2 Tbsp guacamole 50 5
2 Tbsp French onion dip 110 10
2 Tbsp cream cheese 100 9

As you can see, hummus is lower in calories and fat compared to many cream and cheese-based dips and spreads. So when enjoying hummus, pay attention to portion sizes and accompaniments. Pair hummus with raw veggies rather than deep-fried pita chips to keep calories under control.

Is Hummus Keto?

The keto diet emphasizes low carb foods. With about 7 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) per 2 tablespoon serving, hummus is not considered keto-friendly on its own.

However, small servings of hummus can potentially fit into a well-formulated keto diet. Ways to make hummus lower-carb and keto include:

  • Opt for varieties with less than 5g net carbs per serving
  • Eat hummus in 1 tablespoon portions
  • Pair with low-carb vegetables instead of pita bread
  • Look for high-fat, low-carb hummus recipes

So while hummus is not strictly a keto food, many keto dieters are able to incorporate small amounts into their meal plan.

Is Hummus Paleo?

The paleo diet avoids legumes, including beans, peas, and lentils. Since chickpeas are legumes, traditional hummus is not paleo-friendly.

However, there are “pseudo” hummus recipes made with paleo-approved ingredients like cauliflower or zucchini instead of chickpeas. While not exactly the same nutrition-wise, these creative recipes allow paleo eaters to get a similar creamy texture and flavor.

Is Hummus Good For Weight Loss?

Hummus can be an excellent addition to a weight loss diet for several reasons:

  • High in protein and fiber which promote fullness and curb overeating.
  • Nutritious alternative to high-fat dips and spreads.
  • Low glycemic index helps regulate blood sugar and hunger cues.
  • Provides healthy unsaturated fats that support metabolism.
  • Perfect for veggie dipping which increases vegetable intake.

The key is sticking to recommended serving sizes, avoiding deep-fried pita chips and other high-calorie accompaniments, and choosing low-sodium varieties to limit bloating. When paired with raw vegetables, hummus can be a slimming snack or appetizer.

Tips for Buying and Eating Hummus

Here are some tips for selecting hummus at the store and enjoying it at home:

Check the Ingredients

Select hummus with a short, recognizable ingredient list. Avoid brands with artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Choose Low Sodium Varieties

Look for hummus with less than 150mg sodium per serving to limit bloating and water retention.

Spice it Up

Flavor plain hummus with spices like cumin, paprika, cayenne, or curry powder.

Make Your Own

Homemade hummus is quick and easy to whip up with chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic, and lemon.

Pair with Vegetables

Dip raw veggies like carrots, celery, bell peppers, zucchini, and broccoli into hummus for a healthy, low-calorie snack.

Use as a Sandwich Spread

Liven up sandwiches and wraps by spreading hummus instead of mayo or cheese.

Top Salads and Bowls

Drizzle hummus over leafy green salads, grain bowls, and veggie bowls.


Packed with nutrition and flavor, hummus can be part of a healthy diet when enjoyed in moderation. Its combination of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats provides many benefits from improving digestion to protecting your heart. While hummus has some potential drawbacks like allergens, sodium, and fats to look out for, these can be avoided by reading labels and controlling portions.

When paired with raw veggies and other whole foods, hummus can be a nutritious addition to your diet and may even aid in weight loss. But no one food is a miracle for health or weight, so be sure to enjoy hummus as part of an overall balanced diet and active lifestyle.