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.