There’s no easier (or tastier) starter than hummus and pita chips.
In addition, hummus is considered a nutritious snack, especially when compared to other dips and spreads, which are usually high in fat and calories.
However, you might be curious if you can eat hummus on the low-carb, high-fat keto diet.
Hummus is usually made from just four ingredients – chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, and lemon juice. Of these four, the chickpeas are the only ingredient that is of concern to keto dieters.
While most people on keto aim to keep their total daily carbohydrate intake under 50 grams (or net carbohydrate intake – that’s total carbohydrates minus fiber – under 25 grams), 1/2 cup (90 grams) of cooked chickpeas contains a total of 20 grams of carbohydrates and 13 grams of net carbohydrates (1).
This article explains whether hummus is keto-friendly and lists some alternatives.
A 2 tablespoon (30 grams) serving of hummus contains (2):
- Calories: 78
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 5 grams
- Total carbohydrates: 6 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Net carbohydrates: 4 grams
This serving of hummus is roughly the size of a golf ball, so it can be a smaller amount than you would normally serve yourself in one sitting.
Even this small amount contains 4 grams of net carbohydrates.
Most flavors, like roasted garlic or red pepper, don’t change the carbohydrate count or the amount of other nutrients significantly.
A 2 tablespoon (30 gram) serving of hummus provides 6 grams of total carbohydrates and 4 grams of net carbohydrates.
Hummus can definitely be part of your keto diet, but just a serving or two can quickly use up a significant portion of your daily carbohydrate intake.
When you eat hummus, you should limit yourself to a small amount – maybe just 2-4 tablespoons (30-60 grams), which provides 4-8 grams of net carbohydrates.
Also, it’s best to carefully plan the other foods you eat to make sure your carbohydrate count stays low enough to stay in ketosis, which is the metabolic state in which fat instead of carbohydrates is used is burned as fuel (3).
Also, remember to measure your serving carefully, as it is easy to overestimate how much 2–4 tablespoons (30–60 grams) really is.
You should also avoid dessert hummus, which is usually tasty with chocolate and has added sugars (4).
Use as a dip or as a side dish
When using hummus as a dip, you should carefully consider what to dip in your hummus.
Most crackers are too high in carbohydrates for the keto diet, as are flatbreads – unless you’re specifically looking for keto-friendly versions. Even the carbohydrates in carrots add up quickly (5, 6, 7).
Instead, celery, raw broccoli, and raw cauliflower are good dip options.
If you’re concerned about going overboard with dip, try adding hummus as a side dish. Add it to salad or soup for a flavorful, creamy touch, or use it as a low-calorie substitute for mayonnaise when making low-carb sandwiches or wraps.
Treating hummus like a side dish rather than a dip makes it easier to manage your serving size.
Hummus works in small amounts on the keto diet, but you may want to use it as a side dish rather than a dip. That’s because the net carbs add up quickly.
While a small serving or two of hummus can occasionally be fine on the keto diet, you may want a lower-carb alternative, especially if you’re craving a dip. Here are some options:
- Baba Ganoush. Baba Ganoush is a Mediterranean spread and dip made from eggplant rather than chickpeas, although the other ingredients are similar. This Baba Ganoush recipe contains approximately 3 grams of net carbohydrates per 3 tablespoons (45 grams) serving.
- Pate. Paté is a smooth spread made from cooked chicken, beef or duck liver. It’s high in fat and usually only contains trace amounts of carbohydrates (although it’s expensive to buy and time-consuming to make). A 2 tablespoon (30 gram) serving of this chicken liver pate recipe is carbohydrate-free.
- Black soybean hummus. You can also make your own hummus from black soybeans, which are extremely high in fiber to keep the net carbohydrate count on the lower side. This black soybean hummus contains 2 grams of net carbohydrates per 3 tablespoons (30 grams) serving.
Spreads and dips like baba ganoush, liver pate, and black soybean hummus are much lower in carbohydrates than hummus and may be better suited to the keto diet.
While hummus is good for the keto diet, limit yourself to a small amount. Consider using it as a side dish rather than a dip, and avoid dessert flavors.
You may also want to consider other low-carb dips and spreads, like baba ganoush, pate, or black soybean hummus.
Finally, remember to choose keto-friendly crackers, flatbreads, or vegetables for dipping.