Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are a legume similar to pinto, black beans, and lentils. I enjoy them alone or in a falafel, but either way, nobody can deny that they are delicious! But can you have them while following a keto diet?
Unless limiting yourself to a minimal amount, chickpeas are too high in carbs for a keto diet. While chickpeas and other legumes are high in fiber, they are primarily a carbohydrate source with around 33 grams of net carbs per 1-cup serving cooked.
In this article, I’ll go over how you MAY be able to fit in a bit of chickpeas, the benefits of chickpeas, alternatives, and even mock “chickpea” recipes that may still give you your fix.
Are Chickpeas Keto?
Chickpeas have been grown and used in Middle Eastern countries for thousands of years.
Not only are chickpeas delicious, but they are chock full of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but can you enjoy chickpeas on a keto diet?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so black and white.
However, for most individuals, I would recommend staying away from chickpeas if you’re looking to minimize your net carbs and stay or get into ketosis.
This includes different foods primarily made from chickpeas as well, which include falafels and hummus.
How Many Carbs Are In Chickpeas?
While chickpeas do have a good amount of fiber, it still has enough carbs to make it not ideal for a keto diet in large quantities.
Most individuals have a carb limit a.k.a carb allotment between 30 and 50 net carbs per day. This makes chickpeas not one of the best foods to consume if you're doing your best to stay in that range.A one-ounce serving (28g) of chickpeas has 7.7 grams of total carbohydrates, with 2.1 grams of that coming from fiber. In total, a one-ounce serving of chickpeas has 5.5 grams of net carbs.
Nutrition Facts For 1 ounce (28 gram serving): 1
- Calories: 45.9
- Fat: 0.7 grams of fat
- Carbs: 7.7g
- Fiber: 2.1g
- Protein: 2.5g
Health Benefits Of Chickpeas
Aside from being relatively high in fiber and a good source and a complete protein, especially for those who are vegan or vegetarian, what other health benefits do chickpeas offer?
Eating chickpeas may help prevent or offset the development and progression of various chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. 2
Chickpeas are also rich in:
- Vitamin C
I should also note that chickpeas are high in phytic acid, which may prevent the absorption of minerals, which makes it almost counterproductive.3
While chickpeas do not cause a significant rise in insulin levels and may aid individuals attempting to lose weight, if your goal is to get in and maintain a metabolic state of ketosis, it's not the best use of carbs.
However, those on a low carb diet may find that they can fit a small amount since their carb limit has a little more flexibility.
Can You Eat Hummus On Keto?
You might be wondering if hummus is ok on a keto diet. After all, it'ss made from chickpeas but has other ingredients that may be lower in carbohydrates to semi “dilute” the number of carbs it has.
Hummus is essentially a dip made by blending chickpeas with tahini, garlic, and citrus.
We already know that garlic and lemon are ok on keto, so what about tahini? Tahini is generally ok since it’s made from sesame seeds, which are low carb.
But is mixing the other ingredients enough to make it accepted despite the high carb nature of the chickpeas?
And the answer is, maybe.A small serving of hummus is moderate in carbs due to the added fats and “dilution” of the chickpeas.
Even drinking something like a cup of whole milk yogurt can be too much if you drink enough of it.
Take this Costco snack-size hummus as an example. A snack pack has 10 grams of total carbs, but 3 grams of dietary fiber, and 12 grams of fat from vegetable oils, thus leaving you with 7 net carbohydrates.
If you can fit the 7 grams per day into your daily total (assuming you even eat the entire snack pack), then yes, you can eat this on keto.
You have to remember, despite what everyone tells you, there are no black and white rules to keto (sort of).
I’m all about finding what works best for you and fits your lifestyle.
Why No Beans On Keto?
While chickpeas may not be a low carb food, and is technically a bean, what about other beans on a keto diet?
Unfortunately, many other bean varieties (black, pinto, kidney, etc.) fall into the same as chickpeas, which are garbanzo beans.They have too many carbs to make it worthwhile for many people to fit in regularly while following a ketogenic diet.
Unless you plan only to eat a spoonful, but who does that?
However, a small amount isn't enough to derail your weight loss efforts.
Again, it may be ok for a low carb diet, but may be too much for most following a keto eating plan and restricting their carbs heavily.
Alternative To Chickpeas?
If chickpeas and beans are out of the question, what can someone eat as an alternative?
While nothing can replace the authentic taste and texture, we can come pretty close with a little ingenuity, a bit of imagination.
While a little higher in carbs than other vegetables, peas have about half as many carbs per serving.
A half-cup serving of peas has 13 grams of carbohydrates, with 5 of those coming from fiber. This leaves you with 8 net carbs per half-cup compared to the 16 grams for the same half-cup serving from chickpeas. 4
Eggplant, bacon, coconut oil, and seasonings are used to recreate the texture and taste in this low carb dish.
Have some on low carb taco Tuesdays or top them with some cheese and sour cream and eat it with a spoon! Or enjoy a cup along side your favorite protein foods.
Photo and recipe courtesy of Maria Emmerich of Mariam Mind Body Health
Mushrooms are a great option as a substitute for beans on a keto diet.
I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out.
While also being high in vitamins and minerals, enoki mushrooms semi resembles the texture of cooked beans. Mushrooms also absorb many flavors very well and give off a natural meaty flavor of its own.
At least try it out.
Keto “Chickpea” Recipes
Were you looking for some alternatives for chickpeas? I got you covered down below.
Cauliflower is substituted as a base instead of chickpeas in this hummus recipe. Add a few cloves garlic and top it off with a drizzle of your favorite extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil and some lemon juice.
A good food processor will help you tremendously with this and other keto diet recipes.
Works great as a dip for green beans or celery sticks.
Cauliflower wings (mock falafels)
While these are technically mock “buffalo wings,” they could easily serve as a substitute as a falafel! I don’t see why they didn’t call them buffalo cauliflower falafels.
Photo and recipe courtesy of Chocolate Covered Katie
Chickpeas, which are garbanzo beans, and other beans mentioned earlier aren’t considered a low carb food.
While all foods are generally ok, depending on how small of an amount you are willing to have, it's usually suggested to avoid them altogether.
Certain foods are just more conducive from a satiety and micronutrient standpoint. However, if you're dying for a cup of chicakpeas or a cup of hummus, you may find yourself only temporarily knocked out of ketosis.
I find some people are ok having a small amount of certain foods while that same small amount causes other people to go off the rails.
Unless you’re following a cyclical keto diet such as the cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) or targeted keto diet (TKD), which have higher carb days, they aren't an ideal food choice for most individuals following a keto diet.
In short, a cyclical ketogenic diet alternates between low carb and higher carb days, while a targeted ketogenic diet places carbs strictly around workouts.