Is Hummus Good or Bad For Bodybuilding? (Pros & Cons)

Hummus is a staple in many vegan and vegetarian diets because of the protein it contains. 

However, is the protein that hummus contains enough to help us achieve our bodybuilding goals, regardless of whether we’re vegan or not?

Here’s my quick answer: 

Is hummus good or bad for bodybuilding? Hummus is good for bodybuilders, vegans and vegetarians in particular because it provides all 3 macronutrients along with some micronutrients and fiber. However, it should be paired with additional protein sources for the best results.

I’ll share exactly how to incorporate hummus into your bodybuilding diet below. 

After reading this article you’ll learn:

  • What nutrients that hummus has to offer
  • The pros and cons of eating hummus for bodybuilding
  • If we should eat hummus pre and post-workout
  • How to include hummus in 2 recipes to help you reach your physique goals

Hummus For Bodybuilding: Overview

Calories In Hummus

Hummus has a moderate amount of calories with around 166 calories in a 100-gram serving. The calories in hummus could add up quickly with larger servings because of the macronutrient distribution (the ratio between carbs, protein, and fats).

Hummus is made of chickpeas, sunflower seed butter (tahini), olive oil, and its flavourings. We’re getting most of the calories from the tahini and olive oil because of their fat content which has 9 calories per gram, followed by the chickpeas that provide carbs at 4 calories per gram. 

The serving sizes of hummus vary depending on the brand of hummus that we purchase, those who are vegan or vegetarian will probably consume hummus in larger quantities (100 grams) than those who consume animal products (15 grams).

Macronutrients In Hummus

Hummus is higher in carbohydrates and fats than protein. It can help vegans and vegetarians consume more protein, but each serving of protein will come with more carbs and fats that can add up quickly.

Hummus has 14.3 grams of carbohydrates, 9.6 grams of fat per serving, and only 7.9 grams of protein in a 100-gram serving. Therefore, the amount of protein we get per serving compared to carbs and fats is minimal.

The carbohydrates will come from the chickpeas, while the fats would come from the sunflower seeds and olive oil. The protein will come from a combination of the legume and the seeds. 

The hummus itself is not a complete protein, which means that it does not provide us with all the essential amino acids that our body needs, however, it can easily become a complete protein by combining it with a grain source like pita bread, bagels, or chips. 

The only downside to this is that to make it a complete protein, we will have to increase our carbohydrate intake further.

Micronutrient Content Of Hummus

Hummus provides an array of micronutrients because it is made of high-quality ingredients that have many nutrients on their own. The flavorings that we use for hummus can also further increase the micronutrient content.

A standard hummus recipe containing chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil provides us with good sources of manganese, folate, and copper, magnesium, phosphate, iron, and B vitamins.

These micronutrients are especially important for vegan and vegetarian bodybuilders because these nutrients are often under-consumed by those who do not eat animal products.

To further increase the micronutrient availability we could pair hummus with a variety of vegetables because the fat that hummus provides would help us to better absorb the micronutrients from the vegetables.

Are you eating the right foods for your bodybuilding goals?

3 Pros Of Eating Hummus For Bodybuilding

The pros of eating hummus for bodybuilding are:

  • Hummus Is A Plant-Based Protein
  • Hummus Is Satiating
  • Hummus Has A Good Amount Of Fiber

1. Hummus Is A Plant-Based Protein

Hummus is a plant-based protein that can help vegan and vegetarians reach their protein goals to encourage muscle repair and growth while bodybuilding.

It can be difficult for those who do not eat animal products to reach their daily protein targets because plant-based sources naturally contain less protein than animal sources.

In addition, many plant-based sources are not complete proteins and therefore have to be paired with other incomplete sources to form a complete protein.

Including hummus in our diet can help us to increase our protein intake, and because it can easily become a complete protein by pairing it with grains (pita chips, rice, quinoa). 

Having foods that increase our protein intake and that are versatile is important for vegan/vegetarian diets.

Check out our other articles discussing plant-based proteins: 

2. Hummus Is Satiating

The fat content of hummus makes it a very satiating food because fat takes longer to digest and therefore keeps us full for longer periods, which can help us to consume less throughout the day.

When we’re dieting to work towards a leaner physique, we will have to consume a lower number of calories but this can be difficult to maintain if we’re constantly feeling hungry. 

To avoid this we can include more satiating foods, like hummus, that take longer to digest because they will help keep us from reaching the point of uncomfortable hunger.

Having foods on hand that can help curb cravings and prevent hunger can be a gamechanger when we’re dieting for bodybuilding.

3. Hummus Has A Good Amount Of Fiber

Hummus is a good source of fiber which is beneficial because it helps to keep digestion regular, which not only makes us look better but also helps us to feel better.

Fiber can help keep digestion regular by slowing down digestion and adding bulk to our stool, which makes it easier to pass. Consuming an adequate amount of fiber daily can help to keep this process on a schedule and prevent us from getting backed-up.

In addition, consuming an adequate amount of fiber has been shown to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease and can help to control blood sugars.

Check out our other bodybuilding foods that are high in fiber: 

Cons of Eating Hummus For Bodybuilding

The cons of eating hummus for bodybuilding are:

  • Hummus Has More Carbs & Fats Than Protein

Hummus Has More Carbs & Fats Than Protein

The amount of carbs and fats outweighs the amount of protein in hummus, which makes it difficult to hit our protein intake without overconsuming these macronutrients.

In addition, because fats have more calories per gram, and carbs provide a good amount of calories as well, we could easily surpass our calorie goal by trying to hit our protein targets with hummus.

It’s also challenging because we know that hummus is not a complete protein on its own, and only becomes a complete protein if we pair it with additional carbs from grains. So the calories and carbs can creep up quite easily.

This is likely not an issue for those who are bulking because they will need additional calories and have higher carb and fat targets. But for those who are leaning out, this will pose a challenge.

Can You Eat Hummus Before Workouts? 

We can eat hummus before a workout but because of its fat content, we may want to consume it in smaller quantities. If we are having it in larger quantities, we should do so 2 to 3 hours before working out.

hummus for bodybuilding

Hummus could be eaten before a workout if we’re consuming it in smaller quantities (2 tbsp) paired with a grain source like pita chip because we would be minimizing our fat intake and increasing our carbohydrates intake.

This would be ideal because carbs will provide us with energy for our workouts, and the lower fat content would help prevent digestive upset while working out.

If we’re having higher quantities of hummus (100 grams), then we would need to eat well in advance of our workout because we would be consuming more fat, which would need 2 to 3 hours to digest.

Related Article: Should You Eat Fat Before A Workout? (No, Here’s Why)

Can You Eat Hummus After Workouts? 

We can eat hummus after workouts but we should pair it with another source of protein because hummus on its own does not provide enough protein to encourage muscle repair and growth.

For the best results, we can pair hummus with a grain product like brown rice, quinoa, or pita chips to make a complete protein. 

In doing so, we also increase our carbohydrate intake which is beneficial post-workout because the carbs will help us to replenish the energy stores that we depleted while working out. 

We asked Dietician Brenda Peralta about eating hummus before and after workouts and she stated that :

Brenda Peralta

“Before a workout, the best combination you could have are carbohydrates (for energy) and protein (having a good amino acid pool). Chickpeas are a good source of carbs and plant-based protein, but they are also high in fat which slows digestion. The tahini and olive oil used to make hummus have anti-inflammatory properties that help muscle recovery after training. Have it with some carrot sticks or celery to add more nutrients.”

Want to learn more about fats after a workout? Check out Should You Eat Fat After A Workout? (No, Here’s Why)

Does Hummus Help Muscle Growth?  

hummus for bodybuilding

Hummus can help encourage muscle growth because it provides calories and some protein, but to achieve muscle growth we will need more protein and an adequate training stimulus.

Hummus can help muscle growth but it is only one piece of the puzzle and should be paired with other protein sources to make it a complete protein. Consuming complete proteins is important for vegans and vegetarians to achieve muscle growth. 

In addition, we would need to be in a calorie surplus to ensure that our body has the necessary energy to build additional muscle mass because it is an energetically expensive process.

Finally, we need to give our body a reason to put on muscle by providing a progressively challenging training stimulus. If our body doesn’t have a reason to adapt, then it won’t undergo the process of building muscle.

Is It Okay To Eat Hummus When Bulking? 

Hummus can be beneficial when bulking because the carbs and fats can easily add up to provide us with more calories, especially if we’re vegan or vegetarian and hummus is the main source of protein for us.

hummus for bodybuilding

Eating hummus while bulking can be beneficial because it has all three macronutrients which provide a moderate amount of calories. This can help when we’re bulking because we will have higher calorie and macronutrient targets that we need to hit.

However, the fat content of hummus makes it quite satiating so although the fat in hummus provides us with additional calories,  it could also work against us by keeping us full for too long.

I see this as a potential problem because if we’re too full, we may end up force-feeding ourselves to reach these higher targets. 

Hummus is on our list of high calorie, low sugar foods (click to read more food choices that fit this category)

Hummus Recipes For Bodybuilding

Hummus can be a good option for pre and post-workout if it’s properly paired to become a complete protein, and the fat content is minimized pre-workout to prevent gastrointestinal upset.

Pre-Workout Recipe

Hummus & Pita Chip Plate

hummus pita chip plate pre-workout recipe for bodybuilding

The homemade hummus and pita chip plate is a perfect combination for a pre-workout snack because pairing pita chips with hummus will form a complete protein. In addition, the pita chips provide us with more carbs to fuel our training sessions.

Makes 10 servings. 

  • For 1 serving: 284 Calories with 40 g Carbs, 11g Protein, and 10g Fat

Ingredients:

  • 15oz can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 4 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons cold water
  • Optional toppings: paprika, dill, hot sauce
  • 224 grams pita chips

Instructions

  1. Add chickpeas, tahini, garlic, cumin, salt, lemon juice, and cold water to a food processor.
  2. Process the mixture for 3 to 5 minutes, or until smooth and creamy. If the mixture is thicker than desired, additional tablespoons of cold water.
  3. Season the hummus as desired.
  4. Serve the hummus with pita chips. Enjoy!

Post-Workout Recipe

Hummus Buddha Bowl

hummus buddha bowl post-workout recipe for bodybuilding

A Buddha Bowl is the perfect post-workout meal for vegan and vegetarian bodybuilders but can also be enjoyed by those who do eat animal products! The Hummus Buddha Bowl provides a complete protein to repair muscles, and adequate carbs to replenish energy stores!

Makes 4 servings.

  • For 1 Serving: 647 Calories with 77g Carbs, 26g Protein, and 26g Fat

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups prepared hummus
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 2 cups bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed and roasted
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 2 cups edamame, frozen & thawed
  • Optional: hot sauce, lime juice, or peanut sauce

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl. Top with desired sauces or seasonings.
  2. Enjoy!

Let’s get you in the best shape of your life. Sounds good?

Final Thoughts

Hummus can be a beneficial source of protein for those who are vegan or vegetarian especially, however, we have to be conscious of how quickly the carbs and fats can add up in our pursuit of protein.


About The Author

Amanda Parker
Amanda Parker

Amanda Parker is an author, nutrition coach, and Certified Naturopath.  She works with bodybuilders, Olympic weightlifters, and powerlifters to increase performance through nutrition and lifestyle coaching.