If you’re a devotee of a low-carb diet, you’ll know how hard it can be to find suitable low carb substitutes. If you can’t find a low-carb substitute for flour, it can mean missing out on all your favorite treats.
There are numerous options for low-carb flours, however finding the right one is not always so easy. To help, we have put together a guide of the leading low-carb flour options to help you decide on the best one for you.
Why Go Low-Carb?
There are many health benefits to pursuing a low carb diet, perhaps the most popular of these diets is the ketogenic diet. Low-carb diets are lauded as being one of the most effective ways to lose weight, but they also:
- Help reduce appetite.
- Help to burn and budge stubborn abdominal and visceral fat.
- Reduces triglycerides (fat molecules in the bloodstream), which thereby reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Increases ‘good cholesterol’ which also lowers the risk of heart disease.
- Reduces blood sugar and insulin levels, making it ideal for those living with diabetes.
- Can help lower blood pressure.
- Lowers ‘bad cholesterol’ levels.
- Highly effective in controlling seizures for those with epilepsy.
What Exactly Are Carbohydrates?
To understand how to eliminate carbohydrates from your diet, you need to first understand what they are and where they are found:
“Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products. They're a source of energy for the body.”
At a glance, this may make it seem impossible to avoid carbs and still enjoy your food. Ultimately a low-carb diet isn't about completely eliminating carbohydrates altogether, but limiting them and finding alternative, low-carb foods.
One of the things most people who follow a low carb diet will tell you is that they miss bread, cakes, pasta and pizza. All of these are traditionally very high in carbohydrates which would usually mean skipping them altogether on a low-carb diet. While there are no true no carb flour options, there are some great low-carb flour alternatives. Meaning you can now have your cake and eat it too!
Not all low-carb flours are created equal however and it is rarely as simple as switching wheat flour at a 1-to-1 ratio. It is also worth noting that just because a flour is gluten-free, does not mean it is low-carb. Is cassava flour low-carb? No, but it is gluten-free. It is for this reason that tapioca flour is not considered keto either. Always check carefully and don’t assume gluten-free and low-carb are interchangeable.
For gluten-free options, you may like to review our guide on them here.
So what are your options? Let’s review some of the more popular alternatives.
To make almond flour, the almonds are blanched, skins removed and then finely ground into a powder. It is most often used in baking lightweight biscuits and cakes. You can usually substitute all purpose flour at a 1-to-1 ratio for almond flour, but may need an extra egg to aid in binding.
More coarsely ground than almond flour, almond meal also grinds almonds with their skins on. Almond meal can be used in place of bread crumbs when frying or if you want a more crumbly, dense cake - however almond flour and almond meal can be used interchangeably in most instances.
** Both almond flour and almond meal will be unsuitable for those with tree-nut allergies.
Coconut flour is low in carbs and high in protein and fibre. It is quite versatile in baking, however as it absorbs significantly more moisture than other flours, you will need to add extra eggs, butter, milk or oil. Getting this balance right in your favorite recipes can take quite some time.
Coconut flour is best used as a thickening agent for sauces and soups. It does thicken on standing, so use sparingly and test as you go.
Not only a low-carb flour substitute, but also one that can be used in place of eggs for this with egg allergies. Flax meal tends to be a little tricky to work with due to its ability to swell and become ‘gel-like’ on standing. Too much flaxseed products in your diet can also cause digestive discomfort.
While not technically a flour, psyllium husk is similar to flax meal in that it can bind your recipes together well. Sadly it can also cause intestinal issues if consumed in large amounts. It can also interfere with the absorption of certain medications, so discuss with your doctor if you decide to incorporate this into your diet.
Sunflower Seed Flour
Made from hulled sunflower seeds that are finely milled, sunflower seed flour is one of the leading low-carb or keto flour options. Not only is it low-carb, it is also allergy friendly, being completely nut free, it also is nutritionally dense and able to be swapped 1-for-1 in most recipes.
Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, copper, selenium, phosphorus and thiamine, meaning you are adding vital nutrition when choosing this option as a low-carb flour. It is also lower in carbs than even almond meal, making it keto friendly.
Low-carb, Gluten-free And Allergy friendly - Choose Beyond The Equator
Going low-carb doesn't have to be difficult or feel terribly restrictive. With Beyond The Equators Sunflower Seed Flour, you can still make your favorite recipes, from pizza bases, to cakes, crumbed schnitzels and more. Knowing it is made in an environment free of the top 8 allergens means it is also suitable for just about anyone, no matter their dietary restrictions.
If you are new to a low-carb diet and want to ensure you can still enjoy your favorite foods with boosted nutrition, then Beyond The Equators Sunflower Seed Flour is the ideal low carb flour alternative. Should you also have allergy concerns, then it is the best possible choice you can make.
Make the switch to a low-carb diet uncomplicated and enjoyable, choose Beyond The Equator.