For many, chickpeas are an important part of their diet. They can be a meat replacement if you’re following a vegan lifestyle.
You can use them as a crunchy snack if you’re counting calories. They even purée nicely into different dips.
Many diets, however, also ban chickpeas. That’s because even though chickpeas have some nutritional benefits, they also have negative aspects that counteract the positive depending on what diet you follow.
Keto is one of those diets where you will most likely need to stay away from chickpeas. Even the smallest amount may put you at risk of getting kicked out of ketosis.
Here are five reasons why chickpeas aren’t keto-friendly.
Reason # 1 – Chickpeas Will Kick You Out of Ketosis
Chickpeas are notorious for being high in carbs. Just one tablespoon of chickpeas has 8 grams of carbs which is nearly a fourth of the amount of carbs you should have in one day while following a keto diet.
If you actually want to make a meal or a snack out of chickpeas, you’re looking at 57 grams of carbs for one can of chickpeas.
Although chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber, they may still kick you out of ketosis.
There are, however, many keto-friendly substitutions that can be made. For example, a keto hummus can be made by using cauliflower, artichoke, or zucchini instead of chickpeas.
That way, you won’t miss the flavor of hummus or the health benefits it provides.
Reason #2 – Chickpeas are Legumes and Legumes Are Not Keto-Friendly
If you are following a keto-friendly diet, then you should be eliminating grains and almost all legumes from your diet.
Legumes are high in fiber, protein, and carbs. Regular consumption of those will kick you out of ketosis.
If you are looking for a similar food that is high in soluble fiber, folate, and iron that won’t kick you out of ketosis – there are options.
Lima beans and black soybeans are low in carbs and high in fiber. Legumes like chickpeas aren’t the wisest choice.
Reason #3 – Chickpeas Contain Phytates
Many people following a keto lifestyle stay away from chickpeas because of the ingredients they contain.
Chickpeas contain something called phytates which are more commonly referred to as anti-nutrients. That’s because phytates interfere with your body’s ability to absorb essential minerals.
No matter what diet you follow, you’ll want to make sure you are getting enough iron, zinc, and calcium. Phytates can prevent the absorption of those minerals into the body which may lead to a deficiency.
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies for those who follow a keto diet. Those who follow the keto diet can also find their diets lacking in things like calcium because they are no longer consuming carb-rich dairy foods like cows’ milk.
Therefore, it’s important to limit the consumption of foods containing phytates so you don’t find your body deficient in the minerals it needs.
Reason #4 – Chickpeas Can Lead to ‘Leaky Gut Syndrome’
Chickpeas contain high levels of lectins which are a natural pesticide used to protect the chickpeas from harmful organisms during the growing stage.
Lectins bind to the digestive tract and can cause gas, gastric distress, and leaky gut syndrome in those who regularly consume them.
Snacking on raw chickpeas or hummus can lead to a toxic level of lectins. That’s because most lectins are destroyed during cooking but in those cases, the chickpeas aren’t being cooked.
When you’re following the keto diet, you want a healthy gut to help you with the digestion of the increased fats you are now consuming.
Lectins can disrupt digestion and cause damage if you’re eating them in large quantities.
That’s why it’s important to decrease the consumption of things like chickpeas.
Reason #5 – Chickpeas Contain Oligosaccharides
Chickpeas contain something called oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharides are a type of carbohydrate that is formed when simple sugars are linked together.
These occur in chickpeas, and they’re slightly different than fiber. These complex sugars have been found to increase blood sugar and insulin levels which are why it’s important to avoid them on a keto diet.
Oligosaccharides can also cause gas and discomfort. That’s because they are a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested so instead, they pass through the digestive tract.
If you have food sensitivities, especially when it comes to digestion, you’ll want to avoid food like chickpeas.
Overall, it’s up to each individual person following a keto diet to decide what fits their macros and carb intake for the day.
Some people find that they can get away with a small amount of chickpeas because they do want to experience the health benefits that they offer.
Others swear them off completely because they are simply too high in carbs, and they don’t want to take that risk.
Before consuming any sort of new food on your keto diet, add it in slowly to see how it affects your gut, your body, and your ability to stay in ketosis.