The keto diet has become one of the most popular weight loss diets in recent years. It comes with some strict rules you need to follow, which include consuming less than 50 grams of carbs a day. Needless to say, that's not easy to do and many usual foods are off the table. Think: bread, pastries, some fruits, and certain legumes. Hearing that, you may wonder, Is hummus keto?

Before getting to that, you should know how the keto diet works. It’s a very low-carbohydrate diet, meant to shift the body from using its preferred source of fuel, glucose, to burning fat for energy. To do that, your body needs to use up its stored carbs first, which can take a few days. After that, the maximum amount of carbs you can eat to keep this process going varies by person, and can depend on body size, age, hormones (time of the month), and other factors.

Hummus is made from ground up chickpeas. And a ½ cup serving of chickpeas contains about seven grams protein, 22.5 grams carbohydrates (6 grams fiber), and 2 grams fat. "While most foods can fit into a ketogenic diet, chickpeas do contain a fair amount of carbohydrates, therefore making staying within the carbohydrate allowance more difficult," says Melissa Majumdar, RD, CSOWN, LDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

So, where does that leave you with hummus? Here's what experts think and how you can still enjoy this delicious snack while on keto.

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How many carbs does hummus have?

This depends on the type of hummus you are eating and how it's prepared. Hummus can contain added spices, oils, herbs and more, which can potentially contribute to extra carbs. But overall, the number of carbs in hummus is pretty uniform—a two-tablespoon serving of hummus packs about five grams carbohydrates.

"The amount of hummus someone can eat while trying to remain under the carbohydrate maximum for their day will depend on how many carbs their body typically requires, what they are eating the hummus with, and what other foods containing carbs were consumed in the day," notes Majumdar. So you can eat hummus while on keto, just don't go crazy and pick your sides carefully.

And fitting hummus into your diet also bring you some solid health benefits. "Hummus contains fiber, healthy fats, protein, and B vitamins, therefore making it a nutrient-dense food," explains Majumdar. "It’s a great sauce for dipping low-carb veggies like cucumbers, celery, radishes, or pepper strips to add additional fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, and color and crunch into the diet."

What can you eat with hummus while on keto?

There are many ways you can enjoy it while keeping the carbs low. Hummus can be used to dip veggies like the ones mentioned above or spice up a salad.

Hummus can be a great addition to your entrees too: You can use it as a sauce for chicken, fish, meatballs, or tofu. Of course, you can also eat it alone or thin it out using a yogurt or olive oil.

What are some alternatives to hummus you can eat on keto?

If you are looking for foods that are similar to hummus but lower in carbs, you might want to consider these options.

  • Tahini. "Tahini is sesame paste. It’s creamy and nutty-flavored, and is often added to hummus," says Majumdar. It contains three grams of carbohydrates, two grams of fiber, eight grams of fat, and three grams of protein per tablespoon serving.
  • Chimichurri. Chimichurri is a parsley-based sauce or dressing made with olive oil, garlic, white vinegar, and a spicy pepper like cayenne or chipotle, says Majumdar. It makes a great dip or sauce, adding a ton of flavor and a dose of healthy fats from the olive oil. It typically contains 1.3 grams of carbohydrate, 0.5 of gram fiber, and five grams of fat per two tablespoons.
  • Almond or any nut butter. "Nut butters add a lot of flavor and creaminess to foods," says Majumdar. "They can be added to a dressing, served alongside crunchy veggies, or made into a marinade for meat or tofu." Each tablespoon serving of almond butter contains about 3.5 grams of protein, nine grams of fat, three grams of carbohydrates, and 1.5 grams of fiber.