Chickpeas are very popular. We all know them primarily as an essential ingredient in hummus and falafels. Both dishes are delicious and generally considered healthy.
But are legumes like chickpeas allowed on the keto diet because in terms of net carbs?
Find out here, and more, based on science.
Are Chickpeas Keto?
Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are legumes that are one of the oldest crops in the world. They have been consumed for thousands of years in various cultures.
That variety, which most of us know, has a round shape and beige color. Nevertheless, black, green, or red chickpeas also exist.
After the soybean, chickpea is the most cultivated and consumed bean in the world.
However, this very fact raises questions in the context of ketogenic diets. Like other beans, chickpeas are high in protein but also high in carbohydrates.
Potential Health Benefits of Chickpeas
In addition to protein, chickpeas contain dietary fiber, which may moderate their effects on blood glucose and insulin levels (Chandalia et al. 20001).
Compared to refined carbohydrates, this is an advantage considering a low-carb diet.
In addition, legumes contain higher amounts of the following vitamins and minerals (*):
Due to the considerable content of minerals and proteins, it is hard to imagine a vegan diet without chickpeas.
However, their health benefits are generally overestimated because the human body can only absorb micronutrients from the bean to a limited extent.
Side Effects of Chickpeas on Keto
Although online media only ever report the benefits of chickpeas, they also have their drawbacks.
The legumes contain a large number of anti-nutrients that cancel out much of the health benefits.
Phytic acid is a bioactive substance contained by, for example, grains, seeds, and legumes.
Accordingly, chickpeas also contain this anti-nutrient. Since phytic acid can insolubly bind minerals in the digestive tract, it significantly limits their absorption (Gibson et al. 20102).
For this reason, we can absorb the magnesium, iron, or zinc in chickpeas only in small amounts.
Plants also defend themselves against predators. To ward off pests, insects, and microorganisms, they produce large, sticky proteins (Dolan et al. 20103).
Although we do not digest these anti-nutrients, they can sneak into the bloodstream through the gut.
These so-called lectins hide in seeds, grains, leaves, barks, and hulls. Their concentration is exceptionally high in legumes, such as chickpeas.
Lectins bind viruses and bacteria and help them to cross the intestinal wall and reach organs (Dalla Pellegrina et al. 20094).
In addition, lectins can cause inflammation (Freed 19995).
Furthermore, lectins can bind to insulin and leptin receptors, ultimately leading to weight gain (Shechter 19836).
The bottom line is that the supposedly healthy plant is not so healthy at all – especially if you want to lose weight.
How well chickpeas are suited for the keto diet, however, is determined by their net carbohydrates.
Carbs in Chickpeas
Although chickpeas have a healthy reputation, they are still legumes. And they’re generally not very good for weight loss.
Like other legumes, chickpeas are high in carbohydrates.
How Many Carbs Are in Chickpeas?
100 grams of chickpeas provide the following average nutritional values (*):
- Energy: 164 calories
- Protein: 8.9 grams
- Fat: 2.6 grams
- Carbs: 27.4 grams
- Dietary fiber: 7.6 grams
- Net carbs: 19.8 grams
Thus, they have a ratio of fat to net carbohydrates of about 0.13.
If we compare this value to the 13.5 of macadamia nuts (*), the result does look pretty bad.
The carbohydrate content of chickpea overshadows fat and protein by a long way.
Can You Have Chickpeas on Keto?
In short, chickpeas are poorly suited for the ketogenic diet since they are a high-carbohydrate food.
Although some people argue that small amounts do not exceed the average tolerance limit of 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, chickpeas are not recommended.
On the one hand, you will already be eating small amounts of carbohydrates as part of other meals.
On the other hand, the relative amount in chickpeas is such that they can easily kick you out of ketosis.
Is Hummus Keto?
Hummus is a Levantine or Egyptian dip made from cooked and pureed chickpeas.
It’s is one of the most popular foods from the Middle East that is steadily gaining popularity. Among vegans and vegetarians, it is now also considered a healthy food.
Wildly since recipes can vary, classic hummus generally consists of the following ingredients:
- Tahini (sesame paste)
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
With this in mind, 100 grams of homemade hummus has the following average nutritional values (*):
- Energy: 177 calories
- Protein: 4.9 grams
- Fat: 8.6 grams
- Carbs: 20.1 grams
- Dietary fiber: 4.0 grams
- Net carbs: 16.1 grams
The fat-to-net carbohydrate ratio of 0.53 reflects the higher fat and lower carbohydrate content.
Hence, hummus is the better version of chickpea, as long as you make it yourself. In contrast, you should avoid hummus from the supermarket, regardless of what your diet is.
Ready-to-eat hummus is usually made with vegetable oils, processed beans, and artificial ingredients that wreak havoc on your gut in particular.
Moreover, these ingredients are generally harmful to your health. The trans fats in ready-made hummus promote, among other things (Dhaka et al. 20117):
- Cardiovascular disease
However, next to its brother from the grocery shelf, homemade hummus is also not a good option for a low-carb diet.
That’s why keto-friendly alternatives have emerged to replace chickpeas and hummus.
Low-Carb Chickpea Substitutes for Keto
Since hummus, chickpeas, and other legumes are out of the question on a ketogenic diet, we need a suitable low-carb substitute.
We can find the most suitable candidates among low-carb vegetables and nuts. Among them, the following chickpea alternatives have become popular, especially in hummus recipes:
- Parsnips (medium-carb)
- Macadamia nuts
In summary, cauliflower is probably the most popular chickpea substitute. For this reason, you’ll find it in numerous keto hummus recipes, like this one:
Keto Hummus with Cauliflower
- 1 medium Cauliflower
- 4 tbsp Tahina
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil extra virgin
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice freshly squeezed
- 2 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 3 gloves Garlic pressed
- Clean the cauliflower and cut the florets.
- Boil the cauliflower for 10 minutes until soft.
- Then put all the ingredients in the blender and puree until you get a nice smooth hummus.
- Finally, season to taste and dress with olive oil in a bowl.
Avoid the Carbs in Chickpeas on Keto
Although they have a healthy reputation and hummus is delicious, chickpeas are not suitable for the keto diet.
Even small portions contain too many carbohydrates, but chickpeas also contain little fat that could make them a balanced food.
Consequently, foods with hummus can quickly throw you out of ketosis if you’re not careful.
Fortunately, there are alternatives in the form of macadamia nuts, avocados, or cauliflower. The latter is particularly suitable as an essential hummus ingredient, as it develops a similar creamy consistency when pureed.
In addition, you’ll find cauliflower along with almond flour in various keto falafel recipes.
Are Chickpeas Keto – Carbs in Chickpeas FAQ
Are chickpeas good for low carb diet?
Since they are rich in carbohydrates, chickpeas are not suitable for low-carb. As substitutes, you can use cauliflower, macadamia nuts, or avocados, for example.
Which beans are keto-friendly?
Beans are not keto-friendly because of their predominant carbohydrate content. They are also generally poor foods for weight loss.
Is hummus OK on keto diet?
Since it is too high in carbohydrates, regular hummus is not allowed on the keto diet.
Are bananas keto?
Bananas are not keto. They are full of sugar.
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