Many people choosing to follow a low carb or keto lifestyle may feel confused at the beginning when trying to figure out which foods are low carb friendly, and which aren’t.
If this is you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many foods which we regard as ‘healthy’ aren’t necessarily low in carbs, such as chickpeas.
Chickpeas are an incredibly versatile variety of legume that are popular in many people’s daily diets.
Tasty, filling, and easy to incorporate, you may be wondering if you can include these within a ketogenic diet.
To find out more about the nutritional content of chickpeas, look no further, because we’ve got you covered, just keep reading below.
Are Chickpeas Keto Friendly?
So the simple answer to this question is, no. Chickpeas aren’t keto friendly, but they may be incorporated into a ketogenic diet when consumed in small amounts. Let us explain further.
When our bodies enter a state of ketosis, it begins to run on fat as a source of energy rather than carbohydrates in the form of glycogen.
Our bodies will naturally turn to carbs for energy, and so keeping the number of carbs that we eat very low is important in allowing us to use fat as fuel.
This is why you can’t ‘cheat’ on a keto diet like you would with others.
As soon as your body consumes over a certain number of carbs, it will effectively be knocked out of ketosis, and will start using glycogen again and stop burning fat. Consuming any foods that are high in carbs can cause this to happen.
So where do chickpeas stand in relation to this?
Essentially, they are very high in carbs, so consuming them will likely kick you out of ketosis.
Most people who are following a ketogenic diet will aim to consume 20 grams or less of carbs per day.
Chickpeas have 45 grams of carbohydrates per cup, so would very likely kick you out of ketosis.
The starches found in chickpeas are responsible for making your blood sugar spike, which may cause your blood sugar to soar again.
What Is The Nutritional Content Of Chickpeas?
Like we touched on before, a cup of boiled chickpeas will typically contain approximately 45 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of net carbs.
Net carbs are what you should look out for when following a ketogenic diet, because they’re what are absorbed by your body.
To find out the net carbs of any food product, simply take a look at the nutritional content on the back, find the number of grams of carbs, then subtract the fiber content from that number.
Chickpeas also have quite a high sugar content, which is also a negative for those following a ketogenic diet.
A cup of chickpeas will contain a total of 8 grams of sugar, which is significant.
Can I Eat Chickpeas On A Ketogenic Diet?
Technically, yes. You could eat chickpeas on a ketogenic diet, but you would have to consume a very small amount so as to not be knocked out of ketosis.
So if you were eating 20 grams of net carbs per day for example, a cup of chickpeas would account for over half of that number.
Chickpeas do have a few health benefits, mainly because of the vitamins and minerals that they contain.
Some of these include Vitamin A, E, C, plus choline, magnesium, folate, iron, and potassium.
So essentially, if you want to continue following a ketogenic diet but love chickpeas, you can still eat them, but in small amounts, and you’ll have to sacrifice most of your carb content for the day to eat them.
Is Hummus Keto Friendly?
I’m sure many of you reading will be pleasantly surprised to find out that hummus is, infact, more keto friendly than simply eating chickpeas on their own.
This may seem strange considering that hummus is made out of chickpeas, but a serving of hummus (two tablespoons) only equates to 4 grams of carbs.
After the 2 grams of fiber have been subtracted from this number, you’re only left with 2 grams of net carbs per serving. This makes it a far more keto friendly option.
Take care when purchasing store bought hummus, however, as they can contain lots of additives and preservatives which may not be keto friendly.
Sometimes sugar is added into the mix too, so it’s always best to check the label before you make your purchase.
If you want to be very careful about your carb intake, you could try some hummus alternatives that have fewer carbs per serving.
Some popular ones include avocado hummus, avocado being an incredibly keto friendly food product.
You can also try making cauliflower hummus, which is another product that makes a great substitute for this dip.
A large head of cauliflower only contains 17 grams of carbs, which is remarkable.
Or you can just make your own homemade hummus from chickpeas, so that you know for sure that it doesn’t contain any additives or preservatives.
Some store bought hummus brands also contain a lot of trans fats in the form of oils, which should be avoided, so this is all the more reason for you to try making your own.
When you’re following a ketogenic diet, it is important to keep your carb intake to a minimum of 20 grams of carbs a day in order to reach a state of ketosis where your body is running on fat as a source of fuel.
Chickpeas are relatively high in carbohydrates because they contain 12 grams of net carbs per serving, which makes up for over half of your daily intake.
If you want to keep eating chickpeas on a low carb diet, you will need to eat them in moderation.
Hummus is also a better option than simply eating chickpeas by themselves.