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Dangerfood: Hummus

With a garbanzo bean base, hummus delivers more protein than other dipping options. But beware! This hidden calorie trap can pack up to 700 calories in just one container.
Dangerfood: Hummus
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Despite what the Zohan believes, hummus isn’t a magical dip that solves every problem. With a garbanzo bean base, it delivers more protein than, let’s say, salsa, or onion dip. But, it’s a hidden calorie trap, each container packs up to 700 calories.

Don’t Mess With The Hummus – The Need-To-Know

Don't panic! There’s no need to abandon hummus entirely. The dip does offer a good dose of protein, heart-healthy fats, and dietary fiber. Plus, it’s a low-Glycemic Index food The potential health benefits of legumes as a good source of dietary fibre. Trinidad, T.P., Mallillin, A.C., Loyola, A.S., et al. Food and Nutrition Institute, Taguig City, Philippines. The British Journal of Nutrition, 2010 Feb; 103(4):569-74. The lower the GI ranking, the less of a spike in blood sugar levels the food causes.

But for those looking to manage weight, be wary of reckless dipping. Two tablespoons of hummus (roughly 5 dips according to this Greatist taste-tester), ranges from 50 to 80 calories in most commercial brands. Now, consuming one serving makes a fine healthy snack, but the delicious dangerfood dip is just too overpowering, making it easy to consume multiple servings in one sitting thanks to mindless snacking. For this taste-tester, that meant downing about 300 calories from the hummus alone, not to mention the pita chips used for dipping. See where this is going?

Marketed as a healthy dip, most commercial hummus dips combine chickpeas, Tahini, soybean and canola oils with various spices, making it a staple in vegan diets. With a variety of flavors, there’s literally a hummus for every occasion. But there’s no need to make it a part of every meal.

But Hummus Is Yummus! – Your Action Plan

Don’t fret just yet. A new hummus that uses soybeans instead of chickpeas may be the answer. While the jury is still out on this “super hummus” that offers twice the protein and half the fat, it’s great to see innovation in the hummus market.

To avoid the hummus trap, portion control is important. Try scooping out a serving rather than dipping into a large container, or purchase individual-sized packs instead of a large tub. To cut calories, use vegetables such as carrots, snap peas, celery, broccoli, or tomatoes to dip instead of pita chips and pretzels.

Updated January 2012

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