Is there really such a thing as having too much hummus? In the healthy eating world, there might not be a more universally acclaimed food than hummus. Many nutritionists almost exclusively promote the dip, describing it as a relatively low-calorie, natural option that has very few downsides.
“It is full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals—all the makings of a nutritious food,” says nutritionist Heather Hanks.
“Hummus is a healthy, protein and fiber-filled dip,” says Kelsey Lorencz, RD at Graciously Nourished. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.)
Yet despite all of the health benefits, is it really possible to overdo it on this Middle Eastern favorite?
“Hummus is made from chickpeas,” Hanks explains, “which are a legume. These can be hard to digest for many people, and induce GI inflammation.”
The surest signs of GI inflammation are bloating, intestinal gas, acid reflux, and abdominal pain. So if you’re halfway through that hummus container and your stomach starts turning, it might be time to stop.
But don’t worry, hummus-lovers; there is a way around this limit. Because the issue with legumes is, ultimately, the punch of fiber they pack, you can train yourself to be able to consume more fiber.
“Some people are used to ample amounts of fiber and others are not,” says Lorencz. “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.”
Lorencz recommends increasing your fiber intake slowly, up from that original two tablespoons per day. As long as stomach issues remain at bay, there is no other real restriction to consider. As nutritionist Malorie Thompson points out, an entire cup of hummus only nets out around 400 calories.
“Overall, hummus is a relatively safe food to ‘overdo it’ on,” she says.
So if you find yourself eating too much hummus and have a stomach ache, you can always cut back and try one of these 24 Ways to Get Rid of Bloating in Less Than 24 Hours.