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I once heard that chick peas, or garbanzo beans, are very fattening. Now it's hard to think of anything else when I eat hummus. Is it true? — Suz, DC

Christine Palumbo


 You can relax and enjoy hummus guilt-free. Hummus is a classic Middle Eastern spread made with ground garbanzo beans (chickpeas), garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and a bit of tahini (ground sesame seeds). It can be served with vegetables, pita bread, crackers or used instead of mustard or mayo on a sandwich. A 2-tablespoon serving provides 2 grams of protein and fiber, for less than 50 calories.

Garbanzo beans provide healthy soluble fiber, complex carbohydrates, protein, potassium, iron and zinc. Garbanzos also provide folate, a B-vitamin that's vital for women of child-bearing age. A half-cup serving contains 135 calories, 2 grams of fat, 8 grams protein, and 7 grams dietary fiber. They're great tossed into a green salad or even soup. One more tip: Most of us can consume small amounts of favorite foods that are considered "fattening." It's the portion size you need to watch! Enjoy all the foods you like, but in moderation.

About Christine Palumbo

Christine Palumbo, MBA, RD has been a nutrition communications consultant since 1989, providing dietary counsel and analysis on various nutrition, health and weight management topics to corporate clients and news media outlets nationwide. An active member of the American Dietetic Association (ADA), the Illinois Dietetic Association, Chicago Dietetic Association for more than twenty years, she has served on a variety of boards and practice group committees within those organizations. In 1981 and 1982, Palumbo was honored by the Chicago Dietetic Association and the Illinois Dietetic Association, respectively, as the Recognized Young Dietician of the Year.

Palumbo has been featured as the expert speaker in numerous national health panels and has published many articles and pamphlets regarding nutrition and healthcare. She has been featured in national women's, health and business magazines, daily newspapers and local and national radio programs. Palumbo has also appeared on numerous local and national TV news programs, including a segment on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997 on the health benefits of drinking water.

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