Is hummus healthy for weight loss? Yes. But is it the best food option when you’re starving and need something now? No. This simple to make dip may be good for you in many ways, but it isn’t going to stop your stomach growling. So, if you want healthy snacks you can eat quickly, hummus isn’t the right choice.
Hummus is an incredibly popular Middle Eastern dip and spread.
It is typically made by blending chickpeas (garbanzo beans), tahini (ground sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor.
Not only is hummus delicious, but it is also versatile, packed with nutrients and has been linked to many impressive health and nutritional benefits
You can feel good about eating hummus, as it contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
A 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of hummus provides
- Calories: 166
- Fat: 9.6 grams
- Protein: 7.9 grams
- Carbs: 14.3 grams
- Fiber: 6.0 grams
- Manganese: 39% of the RDI
- Copper: 26% of the RDI
- Folate: 21% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 18% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 18% of the RDI
- Iron: 14% of the RDI
- Zinc: 12% of the RDI
- Thiamin: 12% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 10% of the RDI
- Potassium: 7% of the RDI
Hummus is a great source of plant-based protein, providing 7.9 grams per serving.
This makes it an excellent option for people on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Consuming enough protein is essential for optimal growth, recovery and immune function.
In addition, hummus includes iron, folate, phosphorus and B vitamins, all of which are important for vegetarians and vegans, as they may not get enough from their diet.
Hummus provides a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. It is also a great plant-based source of protein, which makes it a nutritious option for vegans and vegetarians.
Inflammation is the body’s way to protect itself from infection, illness or injury.
However, sometimes inflammation can persist longer than necessary. This is called chronic inflammation, and it has been linked to many serious health problems
Hummus is packed with healthy ingredients that may help combat chronic inflammation.
Olive oil is one of them. It’s rich in powerful antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory benefits.
In particular, virgin olive oil contains the antioxidant oleocanthal, which is believed to have similar anti-inflammatory properties as common anti-inflammatory medicines
Similarly, sesame seeds, which make up tahini, may help reduce markers of inflammation in the body like IL-6 and CRP, which are elevated in inflammatory diseases like arthritis
Moreover, many studies have shown that consuming a diet rich in legumes like chickpeas reduces blood markers of inflammation
Hummus contains chickpeas, olive oil and sesame seeds (tahini), which are proven to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Hummus is a great source of dietary fiber, which can improve digestive health.
It provides 6 grams of dietary fiber per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), which is equal to 24% of the daily fiber recommendation for women and 16% for men
Thanks to its high fiber content, hummus can help keep you regular. This is because dietary fiber helps soften and add bulk to stools so that they are easier to pass
What’s more, dietary fiber also helps feed the healthy bacteria that live in your gut.
One study found that adding 200 grams of chickpeas (or raffinose fiber from chickpeas) to the diet for three weeks helped promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as bifidobacteria, while suppressing the growth of harmful bacteria
Some of the fiber in hummus may be converted by gut bacteria into the short-chain fatty acid butyrate. This fatty acid helps nourish the colon cells and has many impressive benefits
Laboratory studies have shown that butyrate production is linked to a lower risk of colon cancer and other health problems
Hummus is a great source of fiber, which can help keep you regular. Additionally, chickpea fiber may promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, which produce butyrate — a type of fatty acid that helps nourish cells in the gut.
Hummus has several properties that may help control your blood sugar levels.
First, hummus is made mostly from chickpeas, which have a low glycemic index (GI).
The glycemic index is a scale that measures the ability of foods to raise blood sugar.
Foods with a high GI value are quickly digested and then absorbed, causing a sharp spike and fall in blood sugar levels. Conversely, foods with a low GI value are slowly digested and then absorbed, causing a slower and more balanced rise and fall in blood sugar levels.
Hummus is also a great source of soluble fiber and healthy fats.
Chickpeas are rich in protein, resistant starch and antinutrients, which slow down the digestion of carbs
Fats also help slow down the absorption of carbs from the gut, which, in turn, provides a slower and more steady release of sugar into the bloodstream.
For example, research has shown that white bread releases four times more sugar into the blood after a meal than hummus, despite providing the same amount of carbs
Hummus has a low glycemic index, which means it slowly releases sugar into the bloodstream. This is also aided by the resistant starch, fat and protein it contains.
Heart disease is responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths worldwide
Hummus contains several ingredients that may help reduce risk factors for heart disease.
In a five-week long study, 47 healthy adults consumed either a diet with added chickpeas or a diet with added wheat. After the study, those who ate extra chickpeas had 4.6% lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels than people eating extra wheat
Additionally, a review of 10 studies with over 268 people concluded that a diet rich in legumes like chickpeas reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol by an average of 5%
Aside from chickpeas, hummus is also a great source of heart-healthy fats from olive oil.
An analysis of 32 studies with over 840,000 people found that those with the highest intake of healthy oils, especially olive oil, had a 12% lower risk of death due to heart disease and an 11% lower risk of death overall
Another study found that for every 10 grams (about 2 tsp) of extra virgin olive oil consumed per day, the risk of heart disease decreased by an extra 10%
While these results are promising, more long-term studies about hummus are needed.
Hummus contains chickpeas and olive oil — two ingredients that may reduce risk factors, and thus overall risk, for heart disease.
So, is hummus healthy?
Chickpeas, the main ingredient in hummus, are very nutrient-dense, meaning they offer lots of nutrients even in small portions.
Hummus keeps you full for longer
They are a great protein option, especially for vegans and vegetarians, because chickpeas contain eight of the nine essential amino acids, the structural components of protein.
High in plant-based protein and fiber, chickpeas help with appetite control and keeping you full longer. And how much protein is there in hummus? About 7.8g per 100g.
One study that compared chickpea consumption over white bread concluded that eating chickpeas may help with bodyweight management by suppressing appetite and energy intake.
Another review concluded that including legumes like chickpeas in the diet increased feelings of fullness after a meal by 31%.
Takeaway: Hummus is a satiating dip
Hummus doesn’t disturb insulin levels
Chickpeas have a low glycemic index, but hummus has a lower glycemic index than chickpeas alone because it has a higher fat content and a lower carbohydrate content due to added olive oil and tahini.
Since dietary fat delays gastric emptying and slows carbohydrate absorption, hummus accounts for improved blood glucose and insulin response. Balanced insulin levels are important in losing weight, especially for type-2 diabetic patients.
Takeaway: Unlike sugary sauces and dips (hello ketchup), hummus helps to keep your insulin levels low.
Hummus supports a nutrient-rich diet
Moreover, many other studies concluded that people who consume hummus have higher intakes of dietary fiber, protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins A, C, E, and folate, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc, compared to non-consumers.
They were also less likely to be obese and had lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.
Takeaway: it’s only guesswork, but people seem to dip more healthy foods into hummus than they dip into mayonnaise. Joining the hummus dippers might help you look for healthier foods.
How to Eat Hummus to Lose Weight
Hummus is a dip that originates from the Middle East. The main ingredients in traditional hummus are chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, salt, lemon juice and tahini — a paste made from sesame seeds. As a snack or a side dish, hummus can be a tasty, nutritious way to add variety to your weight loss plan, provided it works with the rest of the foods you eat each day.
Determine how hummus fits into your daily calorie intake. You need roughly 15 calories per pound of body weight each day to maintain your weight — and 500 calories less than this amount to lose 1 pound per week. This means a 140-pound woman needs around 1,600 calories per day to maintain her weight, while a 200-pound man needs 2,500. A 2-tablespoon serving of hummus contains around 70 calories. You could eat three servings per day — one with lunch, one with dinner and one as a snack — which would only use up 210 of your calories.
Spread hummus on sandwiches or crackers. Mayo-based condiments are typically high in calories and make a serious dent in your allotted calorie intake, but hummus is a good lower-calorie substitute, notes dietitian Cynthia Sass in a Shape.com article.
Dip vegetable sticks into hummus for a filling, tasty snack. The traditional combo of hummus and baked chips isn’t the worst choice in the world, but you’ll do a lot better using veggies instead of the chips. Red pepper slices are ideal, as the vitamin C they contain helps your body absorb the iron from the hummus, adds nutritionist Peggy Kotsopoulos in a Fitness.com article. You could also opt for sliced cucumber, zucchini, carrots or asparagus spears.
If you haven’t tried or made hummus yet, it’s best to start with our delicious homemade hummus recipe. It takes 5 minutes to make! But, be aware that if you share it with others, it won’t last on the table for long as people will devour it in just a couple of minutes!
Now that you rock a delicious hummus, it’s time to jazz it up. When mixed with vegetables, hummus turns into a fun party for your taste buds!
Jazz up the classic: Avocado Hummus
My top three veggies that go well in hummus are avocados, roasted red peppers, and roasted beets. Here is our take on avocado hummus, and we are obsessed with it!
You can also use your hummus as a dressing for your favorite dishes. If you dilute it with some lemon juice and water, you will have a delicious hummus dressing
Is hummus fattening?
Hummus adds great nutritional value and benefits to your weight loss plan. But although healthy in general, hummus is high in carbohydrates and fat and can add up easily if you don’t consider your serving sizes.
So, to lose weight, like any food, it is important to balance your serving sizes when eating hummus.