One of the biggest challenges keto dieters face is cutting out regular flour, especially since it’s present in much of our staple foods.

Although flour does have some nutritional value—it’s rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and has 13g of protein per cup—a serving also contains almost 100 grams of carbohydrates and hardly any fiber.

Considering ketosis relies on a low-carb intake, regular flour should be avoided at all costs!

The only exception to this rule would be for those who partake in the cyclical ketogenic diet, which allocates carb-loading days for athletes who participate in high-intensity sport and training. Although even then it’s generally better to steer clear altogether.

Along with being high in carbs, flour has a high glycemic index which can make it unsuitable for those with diabetes. Plus it contains a lot of gluten that can cause a range of digestive issues for people with gluten sensitivity.

Luckily, when it comes to recreating your favorite breads, cakes, and sauces, there are low-carb alternatives available so you don’t have to worry about missing out.

In this article,

We’re going to take a closer look at coconut flour, whether it’s suitable for keto, what health benefits it provides, how you can use it in your cooking, and more alternatives.

What is Coconut Flour?

Coconut flour isn’t flour in the traditional sense, as it doesn’t contain any nuts or grains and is made from pure coconut.

Once the husk of the coconut has been removed, the coconut “meat” is scraped out and strained to separate its milk.

With the liquid removed, the meat is then baked at low temperatures to completely dry it out, then ground to produce a powdery flour.

In terms of macros per cup, coconut flour contains:

  • 4 grams of fat
  • 4 grams of protein
  • 10 grams of fiber
  • 16 grams of carbohydrates — making it much more suitable for the keto diet than regular flour.

Eat Up, It’s Good For You!

Not only does coconut flour come with a lower risk of autoimmune or digestive issues which the grain-based flour can sometimes cause, but it also provides a lot of other great health benefits.

Let’s take a look!

High in Dietary Fiber

Coconut flour is super high in dietary fiber, which is a type of carb that isn’t absorbed by the body.

Dietary fiber moves right through the digestive tract and helps remove waste and toxins from your system, making it a crucial part of maintaining a healthy gut.

Stable Blood Sugar

Coconut flour has a low glycemic index which means it won’t cause a spike [1] in your blood sugar levels and it’s believed that its high fiber content can help regulate them too.

This makes coconut flour ideal for those with diabetes who may struggle to manage their blood sugar levels as well as for people trying to control their weight more effectively.

Boost Your Metabolism

Coconut flour is full of healthy saturated fats called medium chain fatty acids, including a triglyceride called lauric acid, which the body can break down easily for energy and which helps maintain a healthy metabolism.

Lower Cholesterol

The high level of medium-chain fatty acids in coconut milk along with coconut flour’s significant soluble and insoluble fiber content may actually help lower LDL cholesterol [2]—AKA the “bad” kind of cholesterol.

LDL cholesterol is considered unhealthy because it can cause a buildup of fat in the arteries which increases the risk of a stroke, cardiovascular disease or a heart attack.

How to Include Coconut Flour in Your Diet

Before you start using coconut flour in your recipes, it’s important to understand how it differs from regular flour and how you may need to adapt recipes to use it effectively.

Coconut flour can be used in a variety of recipes, sweet or savory, and its mild coconut flavor generally doesn’t overpower other tastes, making it highly versatile.

However,

Due to its fiber content, coconut flour does absorb a lot of water during cooking, so it’s important to compensate here to avoid drying out your recipes.

While coconut flour can be used on its own for thickening or in place of breadcrumbs for coating other ingredients, in baking it’s usually combined with additional liquid.

As a rule of thumb:

  • it’s best to start with a 1:1 ratio of coconut flour to water to prevent dryness but you can use other liquids like coconut oil.
  • It’s generally not recommended to use coconut flour on its own for baking, as its lack of gluten makes it hard for the ingredients to bind together (though this can be overcome by using additional eggs as a binding and raising agent).

Alternatives to Using Coconut Flour

Coconut flour not your thing?

Struggling to use it effectively in your cooking?

Or are you looking for additional low-carb flours to blend in your baking?

The good news is that there are even more substitutes from which to choose!

Almond Flour

Almond flour is probably the most popular of the alternatives, and is also extremely versatile; you can even buy almond meal, which is coarser and perfect for cookies and pie bases.

Psyllium husk, while technically not a flour, is another ingredient it’s worth being aware of. Not only is it another fantastic source of fiber, but it’s also a prebiotic and an excellent substitute for eggs when you’re trying to ensure enough moisture in your recipe.

Almond flour is a great source of fat, with a whopping 56 g of total fat per ounce, but you want to be careful because it’s especially high in the polyunsaturated fat omega-6, which should be avoided in large quantities due to its inflammatory properties [3].

Summary

When you’re looking for a flour substitute to avoid missing out on your favorite foods, you can’t go wrong with coconut flour.

It’s got great keto macros, lots of health benefits and it’s versatile enough to use in most recipes, although you’ll probably want to look into combining it with some other low-carb flours to make the most of it.

The good news is that it’s even fairly simple to make your own at home which can cut down on your costs as well as leaving you with your own delicious homemade coconut milk!

Related:

Is Coconut Butter Keto Friendly?: A Healthy Decision On Keto

Is Coconut Oil Actually Good for You?

Is Almond Butter Keto Friendly? 4 Key Benefits

Is Almond Flour Keto Friendly? A Healthy Low Carb Substitute

Is Almond Milk Keto Friendly? A Healthy Substitute for Milk on a Keto Diet

Is Quinoa Keto-Friendly? Benefits, Low-Carb Substitutes, & More

References:
[1] Trinidad TP, Valdez DH, Loyola AS, Mallillin AC, Askali FC, Castillo JC, Masa DB. Glycaemic index of different coconut (Cocos nucifera)-flour products in normal and diabetic subjects. Br J Nutr. 2003 Sep;90(3):551-6.

[2] Trinidad TP, Loyola AS, Mallillin AC, Valdez DH, Askali FC, Castillo JC, Resaba RL, Masa DB. The cholesterol-lowering effect of coconut flakes in humans with moderately raised serum cholesterol. J Med Food. 2004 Summer;7(2):136-40.

[3] Innes JK, Calder PC. Omega-6 fatty acids and inflammation. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2018 May;132:41-48. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2018.03.004. Epub 2018 Mar 22.

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Jessica Cotzin is a freelance writer, web developer, and avid traveler. Born and raised in South Florida, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Multi-Media Journalism from Florida Atlantic University and currently resides in Miami Beach. Her passions lie in reading great literature and traveling the world, bumping blindly into new adventures.

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