Finally, the answer to the “Our Body, Ourselves” question nobody was ever brave enough to ask.
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 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
- 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⤴
Comments Leave a comment
Wowza, this makes me look back on a few picnics quite differently. And good advice on replacing chips and pretzels with fresher options--the sodium can really pile up with the former options.
Dangerfood? It doesn't have to be. Most of the extra calories in grocery store hummus comes from the olive oil and tahini, which is used to give it that smooth creamy texture consumers are used to. If you take out the olive oil and cut down on the tahini you can have a hummus with around 140 Calories and 7g of Protein per 1/2 cup serving (that is 4 of your grocery store 2tbs servings) effectively cutting the calories by 50%! I have started making my own and its fun to experiment with the flavors and I love the texture. Chow down with some baby carrots and you can have a filling snack with well under 200 calories and a solid 7g of protein. Of course if you want a "super skinny" dip, then stick with salsa and dip with veggies only. Here is a great recipe to start with http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Spiced-Sweet-Roasted-Red-Pepper-Hummus/Deta... and you can use less tahini than they call for if you really want to keep the calories down.
Any way you look at it, if you compare this to spinach dip or other cream based dips you are still saving 50% of calories. A half cup of spinach dip has 480 calories in comparison to grocery store hummus at 240.
But of course I have to agree, everything in moderation!
Keep up the good work!
Well, if you have a problem with eating hummus straight out the jar, that's your problem, not the hummus's. The lable of "Dangerfood" unfairly maligns healthy foods just because they are high in calories. That's implying that hummus is bad for you, when it really isn't. It's a gross exaggeration. This causes people to become orthorexic, stressed out, meticulous calorie counters.
I happily eat half an 8oz tub of oil-free organic hummus all the time and feel no guilt! It may make up most of my meal, but I love it! It's 240/4oz 8g/protein, and pretty much my only fat source. I pair it with 2 sliced bell peppers for dipping and a handful of baby carrots- and that's lunch (or a light dinner). Indeed, you have to be smart about fatty dips/spreads, and make sure the fat is plant-sourced and non-hydrogenated. I have seen the Edamame hummus, but haven't seen an organic one yet, so I haven't tried it. I'll definitely keep my eye out or make my own. :)
It's not the hummus's fault that it's good and easy to eat, it's yours. Man up and take responsibility for your actions. If you can't limit yourself to two tablespoons, that's your own damn fault. Don't blame the food because you don't have the self control to not shove the whole thing down your mouth.