Is Hummus Keto? Here's What a Nutritionist Says


Starting any new diet can feel difficult when you have to create a whole new lineup of go-to snacks and meals—but that rings especially true for keto dieters who have to seriously cut back on carbs. (Remember: you're only allowed 5–10% of your daily calories to be from carbohydrates on the diet.)

One go-to snack—hummus and vegetables—is a favorite among dieters, but is it keto-friendly? According to Robin Foroutan, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, not exactly.

That's because the main ingredient in hummus is chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans—and one cup of garbanzo beans contains 45 grams of carbs, according to the US Department of Agriculture. When those beans are made into hummus, that number goes up to 49.5 grams of carbs.

Clearly, that's way more carbs than you’ll want in one sitting (and probably even one day) on the keto diet. And while it's worth stating that one tablespoon of hummus only has about 3 grams of carbs—it's not exactly worth it. “While you could fit in a small amount of hummus, it wouldn’t make it satisfying,” says Foroutan, who suggests you instead get your carbs from produce like dark leafy greens and other veggies like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.

RELATED: Are Beans Keto? Here’s What a Nutritionist Says

If you just can't live without hummus in your life, don't worry—you don't have to give it up completely. Simply go for a lower carb variation, says Foroutan. The spread’s other main ingredient (besides chickpeas) is tahini and not only is that sesame-based product keto-friendly, it’s also high in calcium and fat, Foroutan explains.

And, while you can't have hummus made of tahini alone, make sure you look for (or make!) a batch made with other, low-carb ingredients, like roasted cauliflower or avocado. Foroutan also suggests spreads that include herbs and spices, like parsley, oregano, turmeric, or garlic. They’ll not only add flavor, but healthy antioxidants too.

But, something to keep in mind: If you’re considering the keto diet and you’re unsure if it’s right for you or if you’re eating foods that stick within its regulations, Foroutan suggests chatting with a doctor or dietitian. “There are certainly cases where keto can be really helpful, but for most people, it’s not necessary,” she says.

To get more nutrition stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Balanced Bites newsletter