Eating too much hummus can be harmful to your health: report

Excess hummus consumption can cause digestion issues due to its high fiber content

Apparently, you can have too much hummus.

This news might come as a shock to fans of the chickpea dip, but health experts noted this not-so-well-known fact in an interview with nutrition resource Eat This, Not That.

Degreed nutritionist Heather Hanks told the online food publication in February that eating hummus in excess can cause gastrointestinal inflammation.

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In her own words: "Hummus is made from chickpeas, which are a legume. These can be hard to digest for many people, and induce GI inflammation."

Gastrointestinal inflammation is a biological response that occurs in the digestive tract when the organ comes into contact with "pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants," according to a study from Gastroenterology Research and Practice – which was published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information

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The condition is often related to inflammatory or irritable bowel syndrome, which both cause pain in the intestines in addition to gas, diarrhea and constipation.

Most hummus that’s sold commercial contain 0.9 grams of fiber per tablespoon, nutrition facts listed in the USDA’s Food Data Central reports.

Hummus is made from cooked and mashed chickpeas. The dish is often mixed with olive oil, lemon, garlic and other seasonings. Many people serve hummus with chips, bread or vegetables. (iStock)

Hummus is made from cooked and mashed chickpeas. The dish is often mixed with olive oil, lemon, garlic and other seasonings. Many people serve hummus with chips, bread or vegetables. (iStock)

Meanwhile, the academic medical center Mayo Clinic says women should try to eat at least 21 grams of fiber per day and men should eat at least 30 grams for a well balanced diet.

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Eating more than 70 grams of fiber daily is when digestion issues can occur, a report from Medical News Today states. 

This would mean eating more than 77.8 tablespoons of hummus can put your body at risk, which is something that’s not typically done in one sitting, even when the dip is used to complement chips or veggies. However, it's important to note that the food items you choose to go along with your hummus could be loaded with fiber as well.

"Some people are used to ample amounts of fiber and others are not," registered dietician Kelsey Lorencz told Eat This, Not That. "If you are just starting to eat hummus (or any fiber-rich food), start with a couple of tablespoons and make sure you are drinking plenty of water to help move the fiber through your system."

She added, "Overall, hummus is a relatively safe food to 'overdo it' on."

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Hummus is often recommended as a health food since its ingredients make it low in calories. The Middle Eastern dish was valued at $811.9 million in 2020 and is expected to surpass $1 billion by 2026, according to market research published by 360 Research Reports.