Is Hummus good for your diet?

There’s a little argue about the culinary virtues of hummus. There is some confusion and misunderstanding about it’s nutritional value, though. Is hummus good for you? Is it good for your health? Will it make you fat? Is it really that rich in vitamins and other healthy stuff, or is all that merely a myth, encouraged by people with commercial interests?

Also read: Hummus Nutritional Facts

In the coming posts I’ll try to clear things up a little. This time, we’ll talk specifically about the alleged fattening affect of hummus.

To make long things short: there’s a huge difference between readymade packaged hummus and the homemade version of the dish (recipe) . True, the ingredients of an industrialized hummus of a certain brand, may vary. But in principle, it has about twice the amount of calories (and mostly non of the nutrients and nutritional benefits) compared to a fresh hummus, cooked prepared at home or eaten in a restaurant.

A recent study made in Israel, found out that non of the popular local hummus products was remotely similar in content to real hummus, made by hand. Most products had a value of around 320-350 calories for 100g, 50-65% of which came from fat. “Real” hummus, should contain about 175 calories, out of which 70-80 calories are contributed by fat.

The average Israeli eats 8-10 kilograms (18-22 pounds) of hummus every year, so we’re talking about extra 15,000 calories which can make him gain about 2.5kg of body weight each year. So you can see how excessive consumption of the packaged product might be fattening over the years.

The common serving size of hummus (real hummus, that is), which is around one cup (220-240g) may contain 400-450 calories. And every pita (“pita bread”) contains another 270, so it’s not really “dietary”.

On the other hand, the Glycemic Index (GI) of hummus is arround 12, meaning it should make you full and satiated for many hours, and that’s good if you’re on a diet. Hummus is also a good choice if you’re on a protein reach diet, especially if you’re also vegetarian.

Legumes such as chickpeas from which hummus is made, are a great source for both complex carbohydrates and protein. Tahini, the second most important ingredient, is rich in minerals, fatty acids like Omega-3, and amino acids. So it’s actually the pita which you should try to cut out.

When in a hummus restaurant, you can always ask for “Mesabecha”, a dish with pretty similar ingredients but a different texture. It can be eaten simply with a fork, with little or no pitas, which in many cases are the major source for calories when eating hummus.

Comments

26 Responses to “Is Hummus good for your diet?”

  1. Houmous.Net on March 17th, 2007 3:25 pm

    Imagine… I just said good things about your web site, but all my readers said that they feel more good in french, what can i say to you… ;-)
    Anyway, we’re really not talking about the same things, you’re a sciantist (lol) and i’m talking about what is hapening in our creasy world…
    beatsla’ha, i love your work and all the kilos that i get from it !

  2. Xochitl on April 25th, 2007 8:54 pm

    It is a fantastic site what you have here! I felt great to know that I could recommend the “mexican garbanzos” to my beloved ones in Mexico when I read that you do not recommend to use them for the hummus. They look pretty much the same to me so I would love to know what is the difference between them and the chick-peas. Thanks a lot!

  3. shooky on April 26th, 2007 12:55 am

    Dear Xochitl,
    There are over 20 different varieties of chickpeas. The ones usually referred to as “Mexican”, contain a smaller amount of the jello-like nutritional fiber which gives hummus it’s smooth texture.

    In Europe and the ME there are also the “Bulgarian” and “Turkish” varieties which are much better for hummus. The Bulgarian, specifically , are really tiny but double it’s size after being soaked.

    Technically, “Garbanzo beans” is just another name for chickpeas, not
    a name of a specific variety. I suspect that the large chickpeas you find in the US market are not even grown in Mexico, and are called “Garbanzo beans” only because this is how American Mexicans call them, and most Americans don’t know better.

    Advise your loved ones to look for a variety with smaller grains. I’m sure there are such chickpeas in Mexico. And please tell me if it helped.
    Good luck!

  4. Dorothea on November 3rd, 2007 4:13 pm

    I have been put on a sugar/wheat/yeast free diet and hummus is one of the things I can eat. For years I have been making hummus with chickpeas (tinned) but have discovered that Italian cannelini beans make a much lighter, smoother and creamier hummus.

    I vary the recipe but the basics remain the same: 2 tins beans, (drained of their brine) 1/2 cup tahini, juice of one lemon, 2 cloves chopped garlic, salt, cumin, and water if the mix is too thick. Blend everything in food processor until smooth. Never fails.

  5. Sarah on June 18th, 2008 1:42 am

    I am eating some hummus I made myself right at the moment. I had never had it until I went to Oman a year and a half ago. It was definitly a staple of my diet for the 2 1/2 weeks I was there and when I came home I tried to reproduce it. I have actually never tried to make it with tahini, but I found that I can make something that resembles the various kinds that I had in Oman with out it. The result is very healthy and I found a type of pita in Walmart that has only 60 calories and 16% of the fiber one should have in a day plus Omega 3s and tastes really, really good…. I am convinced that hummus when prepared at home can be very healthy indeed!

  6. Kay on July 11th, 2008 5:43 am

    Hum Hummus. Well I made some today from an receipe I found on the web. It was diefinetly better than the store brought I was purchasing. I also found it to be satisfying to the old tummy, thus making feel full with a small unmeasured portion. Because I added lots of garlic and sea salt, the aftertaste is great, and leaves me not wanting to reach for something sweet.

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  8. cindy on July 31st, 2008 12:35 am

    I made some great hummus today. I do not eat mine with bread, however the occasional cracker tastes great dipped in it. I will have hummus for lunch with all fresh vegetables and it is very satisfying aftera workout at the gym and for snacking on during the day. I’m more inclined to snack on veggies with the hummus around than on junk.

  9. New To Hummus on August 7th, 2008 12:45 pm

    Just got some Hummus today from Costco. 3 24oz (908g) jars for 11 US dollars. I cant stop eating this mystery paste! @ the momment Im sloshing in some “Roasted Sweet Bell Pepper”.

    You have got to see Adam Sandlers “Dont mess with the Zohan”

    It got me curious about trying it out!

    Is this stuff even real?

    serving size 2 tbsp (28g)

    Calories 50
    Fat Cal 20
    Total Fat 2g
    Diet Fiber 2g
    sugar 1g
    Total Carbs 6g
    Sodium 130mg

    Should I even be Eating this or stick with home made?

  10. Raniya on October 9th, 2008 1:48 am

    …I lov HUMMUS…So good to hear dat i can add 2 my diet now…Wow :-)

  11. Egbert on January 10th, 2009 1:39 am

    I once was a teenage mutant chickpea and in that life they made me into hummus. I believe the recipe was old school and the taste of my hummus was good however, you don’t wouldn’t enjoy that type of life – I guarantee that!

  12. veld on May 9th, 2010 7:19 am

    I am the hummus lover,I eat hummus for long time now , my weight when I was young is 46 kilo, now I am 44yrs age and 5’3’’ height but still 48 kilo not much different huh, tough I never do exercise but I am still in good shape and good health.

  13. Snoreway on June 1st, 2010 3:13 pm

    I just made hummus for the first time today, I must say, I’m happy bout the result!!!
    I’m currently trying to make my diet more diverse since I need to loose some here n there;) and I think this is a great alternative to the normal rice/potato/pasta that is common in Europe.

    I find it hard to use garlic since I am “intolerance” to the European garlic, and not always lucky to find Asian at the store, so I used a small onion instead:D great taste!

    I will bookmark this site so I can continue to read, I think this is good to learn about new foods (for me at least) and that not everything that is “fatty” has to be as long as it can be home-made, that said, I don’t buy finished product dinners for 2 years now!

  14. Mark Jensen on April 4th, 2011 11:32 pm

    I just started adding Hummus to my diet. I found the same full feeling that others mention above. I do not eat the traditional pita bread with it however I am constantly dipping vegtables in it! Carrots, broccli, etc. Since traditionaly I had to have cheese or ranch dressing on my veggies the hummus seems to be a healthy substitute. I hope to see some weight change using this diet. I have yet to see but if it keeps me from eating junk food it can’t be all that bad!

  15. Jessamay on May 18th, 2011 11:33 am

    Would love to hear all your recipes for making Hummus please

  16. Jessamay on May 18th, 2011 11:35 am

    I love the shop bought, but apparently it contains so many calories, but dont have a clue how to make it myself or where to get most of the ingredients – help would be appreciated

  17. Joe on September 5th, 2011 12:04 am

    Speak my mind? Okay….

    It sucks to see how Israel has convinced mainstream media that most of the Mediterranean delicacies like Hummus are actually Israeli native foods.

    The Turks and the Arabs were eating Hummus way before 1948 when the USA said “Okay European Jews, have the land, have the food, and claim everything is yours. Don’t worry, we’ll back you up with nuclear weapons and Fox news.”

    I’m actually eating homemade Lebanese Hummus right now and I just chocked reading this article.

    Zohan, suck it you hairy bastard!

  18. Karen on September 19th, 2011 2:49 pm

    What a thoroughly obnoxious comment to make on someone else’s food blog. Take it outside and “chock” on it, Joe, or start your own blog.

  19. Lisa on June 13th, 2012 2:06 pm

    Joe I think you need to get off your racist high horse. Everyone in the Middle East can enjoy it and how do you know it wasnt started in Isreal? I like hummus but I hate racists and you POS is an obnoxious one!

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  21. layla on August 29th, 2012 10:51 am

    i know what joe is trying to say i think he came off more rude then he meant to. lol

    maybe palestine was where hummus was created. there are many good middle eastern recipes that seem to come from there. like kenafa with the orange top and filled with cream no mozzarella. :-)

  22. cmoore on October 4th, 2012 7:06 pm

    Today is the 1st time I’ve ever tried Hummus, and I must say, it is pretty good.

    Thanks

  23. billy on March 29th, 2013 11:58 pm

    wtf is chickpeas?

  24. Francoise on October 5th, 2013 1:55 am

    I just won’t to know if hummus is fattening, because it’s so good

  25. Carolyn on April 30th, 2014 2:58 am

    I know garbanzo is a beans, is it trigger for arthritis?

  26. Shooky Galili on May 7th, 2014 4:41 pm

    Hi Carolyn – not that I know of, but I think it would be wise to consult a doctor.

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