When it comes to choosing a keto or gluten-free flour there are a huge number of options. The two most popular of these are easily coconut and almond flour. Are they really as interchangeable as made out? What is the difference between them? If you want to know all about coconut flour vs almond flour and another ingenious alternative, read on.
Why Skip Wheat Flour?
Wheat flour is a pantry staple in most American homes, used for baking cookies, cakes, bread, pizza bases, gravy biscuits...the list goes on. For some, however, wheat flour poses a significant health risk. Take those with celiac disease, for instance, the high gluten content of wheat flour causes severe intestinal distress and causes damage to the intestinal wall.
From a nutritional perspective, wheat flour is one of the least healthy options. It is ranked high on the glycemic index and can disrupt your blood sugar. It also can slow down digestion, contributing to headaches, migraines, and constipation. It makes sense to review available alternatives that can easily be substituted for wheat flour.
What Is Coconut Flour?
Coconut flour is made from the flesh of coconuts. A natural by-product of coconut milk, the remaining flesh is dried by baking at a low temperature and then finely ground into a powder. Thought to have originated in the Philippines, coconut flour is now popular all over the world.
The flour has a sweet, coconut flavor and is similar in color and texture to wheat flour. Coconut flour is gluten-free, high in fiber and protein, and can be easily substituted for wheat flour. It is more absorbent than wheat flour, however, so substitute with caution. In the USA, coconut is actually recognized as tree nut by the FDA and as a result, must be declared as an allergen on food packaging.
What Is Almond Flour?
Almond flour or almond meal is made from almonds that have been blanched in boiling water to remove the skins, then ground into a powder. Almond powder is moister and more coarse than wheat flour and has a light golden color, in baking it imparts a delicate marzipan flavor. While almonds are considered quite healthy in moderation, it takes approximately 90 almonds to make a single cup of almond flour, meaning it is easy to overindulge.
Almond flour is also gluten-free, high in protein, and great for diabetics, being low on the glycemic index scale. Almond flour is not as easily substituted for wheat flour and creates a more dense result in baking. Additionally, almonds pose a significant allergy risk for those with tree nut allergies, with around 1% of Americans falling into this category.
Coconut Vs Almond Flour
Ultimately both are grain and gluten-free and healthier than flours made from wheat or grains. In baking, both flours perform well, however, coconut is more absorbent and can create dry, tough results. Almond, while moisture, struggles to rise well and can produce heavy, dense creations.
Both are great sources of fiber and protein, as well as being keto-friendly and gluten-free. Most importantly, however, they rank poorly on the allergens scale and comparatively little in the way of added nutrition. So what is the solution?
The Allergy Friendly, Keto And Gluten-Free Alternative
Enter, Sunflower Seed Flour. This ingenious alternative to wheat flour ticks all the right boxes, sunflower seed flour:
- Is 100% nut-free, making it safe for use for just about any allergy sufferer.
- Is also gluten-free, making it safe for those who are celiac.
- Inexpensive, especially when compared to almond flour.
- It is nutritionally dense, sunflower seed flour nutrition includes B group vitamins, vitamin E, and antioxidants such as phenolic acids and flavonoids. These antioxidants have been shown to improve brain health and help regulate weight.
- It has a neutral flavor so as not to impact the taste of your recipes.
- Is naturally sweeter than grain-based flour so can help you reduce added sweeteners when cooking.
- Is significantly higher in protein and lower in carbs than other flours, making it perfect for Keto or Paleo recipes.
- Is vegan, non-GMO certified, and sustainable - using significantly less water to cultivate than grains and nuts.
Sunflower seed flour is made from grinding the hulled seeds of Sunflowers. In the case of Beyond The Equator Sunflower Seed Flower, this process is carried out on a prosecution line that is certified to be free of the top 8 allergens. Making it safe for those not only with nut allergies, but any of the top 8 recognized allergies in the USA.
Uses For Sunflower Seed Flour
Just like coconut flour or almond flour, sunflower seed flour can be used in place of wheat-based flours with great success. In choosing sunflower seed flour, however, you are reducing the allergen content and boosting the nutritional density of your food.
Sunflower seed flour can be used in baking for bread, cakes, pizza bases, waffles, pancakes, and more. It is also ideal for crumbing meat or fish prior to frying or creating delicious crumble toppings for pies. Wherever you use wheat flour, you can use sunflower seed flour with great success. You may need to use slightly more than a 1-to-1 ratio to get the same consistency you’d expect with wheat flour.
Above And Beyond With Beyond The Equator
At Beyond The Equator, we are committed to ongoing innovations with food. Our mission is to create a wide variety of allergy-friendly ingredients and substitutions that allow everyone to enjoy a delicious and nutritious diet. We began with our range of 5 Seed Butters (a peanut butter substitute) and have progressed to Sunflower Seed Flour, with many other ideas in the pipeline for the future.
If you have yet to find a great flour alternative that is suitable for allergies, ketogenic or paleo diets, AND is gluten-free, we encourage you to try our Sunflower Seed Flower. While you’re there, do not forget to check out our range of allergy-friendly, completely adaptable recipes - from Halloween to Christmas, school lunchboxes, and more - Beyond The Equator has got you covered.