Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a versatile legume that finds its way into many people’s diets. While they are considered healthy food, those on a keto diet often wonder if they can enjoy chickpeas. The answer is no, chickpeas are not typically considered to be keto-friendly. However, in moderation, you can still enjoy them without jeopardizing your state of ketosis.
Why Aren’t Chickpeas Ideal on a Keto Diet?
The goal of a keto diet is to maintain a state of ketosis, where your body uses fat as its primary source of energy instead of glycogen, which is stored carbohydrates found in the liver and muscles. Normally, your body prefers to use carbs as fuel, storing any excess carbohydrates as glycogen for later use. However, on a keto diet, your body turns to fat for energy once the glycogen stores are depleted.
Unfortunately, consuming a significant amount of carbs after reaching ketosis will cause your body to revert back to using glycogen for energy, bringing you out of ketosis. Chickpeas are not recommended on a keto diet because they are high in carbs. Most keto dieters aim for fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day, and even in small servings, chickpeas can easily exceed this limit, knocking you out of ketosis.
How Many Carbs Are in Chickpeas?
Chickpeas are primarily composed of carbohydrates. A cup of boiled chickpeas contains approximately 45 grams of carbs, with 12 grams of net carbs per serving. This means that a cup of cooked chickpeas is not low in carbs, as it delivers around 33 grams of net carbs. Since most keto diets aim for 50 grams of carbs or fewer per day, a serving of chickpeas could account for about 65% of your daily carb allowance.
Chickpeas also contain about 8 grams of sugar within the 45 grams of total carbs. While this sugar is unrefined, it is still advisable to avoid consuming chickpeas if you’re trying to minimize blood sugar spikes.
Can I Eat Chickpeas on Keto?
While a typical serving of chickpeas can bring you out of ketosis, it is possible to consume a small amount each day without triggering your body to use glycogen for energy again. Instead of aiming for zero carbs, the goal of a keto diet is to maintain a low-carb intake. Therefore, you can technically eat chickpeas while counting the carbs you consume until you approach your daily limit.
For example, if your goal is to consume 50 grams of net carbs or fewer per day, you can have a cup of cooked chickpeas as long as you limit carbs from other sources to around 17 grams or fewer.
Chickpeas offer various health benefits due to their high vitamin and mineral content, so you can still incorporate a small amount into your keto diet while remaining in ketosis.
Is Hummus Keto?
Hummus is made from chickpeas and is a popular food choice for many, especially vegetarians and vegans who rely on it as a plant-based source of protein and fat. While hummus does contain carbohydrates, it is a relatively low-carb option compared to straight chickpeas, making it more suitable for keto dieters.
Two tablespoons of Sabra hummus, for instance, contain around 4 grams of carbs, including 2 grams of dietary fiber and 0 grams of sugar. This means that one serving delivers just 2 grams of net carbs, a much more reasonable amount to include in a low-carb diet.
However, most store-bought hummus options are not considered keto-friendly due to the inclusion of unhealthy ingredients like canola oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil. These oils contain trans fats that can have adverse effects on your health, such as an increased risk of heart problems and inflammation. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid store-bought hummus and opt for homemade alternatives.
What Are Some Keto-Friendly Alternatives for Hummus?
Although hummus can be a convenient and delicious snack in small quantities for keto dieters, it still contains carbs that could be better enjoyed elsewhere. Additionally, the low number of net carbs in hummus could push you out of ketosis if you consume carbs from other sources throughout the day. That’s why many people on a keto diet look for alternatives to hummus that are more keto-friendly.
Cauliflower is a popular vegetable in keto recipes due to its low carb content. An entire head of cauliflower contains just 17 grams of net carbs and is incredibly versatile for various keto dishes. One beloved alternative to hummus is easy cauliflower hummus, which is simple to make and pairs well with celery, broccoli, or homemade keto chips. It contains minimal net carbs and is rich in healthy fats like olive oil or avocado oil.
Avocados are a staple on the keto shopping list. They are high in healthy fats, low in carbohydrates, and incredibly delicious. For those who crave hummus, an easy alternative is avocado hummus, made from avocados. This homemade option contains no trans fats or unhealthy ingredients, and it even includes some chickpeas to maintain the classic hummus texture. However, be mindful of the higher calorie content in avocados and track your intake if weight loss is a goal.
Homemade Chickpea Hummus
Another option is to make hummus from scratch. Homemade hummus allows you to control the ingredients and avoid unwanted oils that contain trans fats. Typical hummus recipes include garbanzo beans, keto-friendly extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and tahini. However, homemade hummus naturally contains more carbs than most store-bought options, even with healthier ingredients.
Wrapping Up: Do Chickpeas Belong on a Keto Diet?
While it is technically possible to consume very small amounts of any food and remain in ketosis, chickpeas are not recommended on a keto diet. They are high in carbs and can easily exceed your daily limit, compromising your ketosis state. Moreover, chickpeas contain a significant amount of sugar, which can further spike blood sugar and jeopardize ketosis.
Although hummus is a more suitable option for keto dieters due to its lower carb content, most store-bought hummus contains unhealthy oils. It is best to make your own hummus or try keto-friendly alternatives like cauliflower hummus or avocado hummus.
By making informed choices and exploring alternatives, you can still enjoy a variety of flavors while staying on track with your keto diet.
For more information on keto-friendly ingredients, check out our selection of articles that address some commonly discussed foods on a keto diet: