Too much of any food can make you fat, and hummus is no exception. Generally, hummus is considered healthy, but it does have a significant amount of fat. Since fat has more than double the calories of carbs or protein -- 9 calories per gram versus just 4 -- it's somewhat energy-dense. While eating hummus in moderation is just fine, going overboard can bust your diet.
Hummus is made with garbanzo beans, olive oil, lemon juice and tahini, plus additional flavorings. Commercially prepared hummus ranges from 50 to 80 calories per 2-tablespoon serving, with 3 to 7 grams of fat, roughly 5 grams of carbohydrates and a bit more than 2 grams of protein. It has less than 2 grams of fiber. Other than fat, a serving of hummus provides well under 10 percent of daily recommendations for these nutrients.
Hummus and Weight
The problem with hummus is that more than half of its calories come from fat. To meet daily nutritional guidelines, you should only get less than one-third of your calories from fat. That said, hummus portions are small, and those 50 to 80 calories have little effect on your weight. The key is to stick to the 2-tablespoon serving size. Also, watch out for flavored hummus, which may have added fat, sugar and sodium. Some brands drizzle oil over the top, which adds significant calories from fat.
Hummus in Diet
Since hummus is also a nutrient-dense food, balance it out with lighter accompaniments. A small whole-wheat pita, for example, has less than a gram of fat and about 75 calories, which evens out the nutritional value. In addition, try adding some fresh veggies such as chopped tomatoes, spinach and artichoke hearts -- without oil -- to your spread. These goodies are low in fat and calories, and have vitamins and minerals as well as fiber to help you feel fuller longer.
If you don't want to get fat, start looking at your daily calorie intake. For every 3,500 calories you eat and don't burn off, you gain about a pound. To get a rough estimate of daily needs, multiply your body weight in pounds times 15 -- if you weigh 135 pounds, for example, you use about 2,025 calories per day. If you're sedentary, however, you need fewer calories. Exercise for at least 150 minutes per week to help ensure a healthy weight.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.