February 10, 2015
Which Gluten Free Flours Are the Healthiest?
There are more kinds of flours out there than I ever realized. Coconut, Almond, Soy, Hazelnut, Quinoa, Garbanzo, etc., etc.. With so many people going gluten free, wheat flour seems to have taken a back seat. Almond flour and coconut flour seem to be more mainstream these days for all sorts of baked goods and Paleo treats. A drawback to coconut flour is that it is very absorbent and can by dry. You have to make sure your liquid to flour ratio is spot on. Coconut flour is fairly sweet and has many health benefits including it’s high fiber content (but you need to be careful not to overindulge), it is low in carbs and high in nutrients. Almond flour seems to be a super popular among the Paleo followers and non-gluten eaters as it is superior to other flours in terms of taste, nutrition and ease-of-use. But is almond flour really a healthy replacement for wheat? For starters almond flour is extremely caloric. It has approximately 700 calories in one cup. Most baking recipes call for at least one cup, and that doesn’t include the eggs, butter, sugar or whatever else you are putting in there. About 20% of the fat in almonds is polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Here are a few reasons why it is important NOT to overeat polyunsaturated fats. PUFAS slow down the metabolism, foster an inflammatory response in the body, can cause digestive issues, can slow down thyroid function, hinders detoxification enzymes, diminishes antioxidants in the body and can lead to estrogen-dominancy in the body and this contributes to many health issues like weight gain, PMS, hormonal acne and more. The fat in almonds is not stable and becomes oxidized when exposed to high temps (like baking). Oxidized fats are free radicals and free radicals cause cell damage. Almond flour is high in enzyme inhibitors – meaning it makes it harder to digest our food leading to stomach pain and bloating. There is other evidence that refutes some of these claims, but it makes you think. There are benefits to almond flour (high in protein, magnesium and calcium, readily available and easy to cook with), but you need to decide if these outweigh the cons. But did you know there are a whole other host of flours out there such as potato, arrowroot, rice, tapioca, teff and a half a dozen more?! If you are interested in the calories, protein, carbs and fat of the various different flours - gluten free or not - take a look: Picture is courtesy of: https://ggiswheatfree.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/so-many-flours-so-little-cupboard-space-how-gluten-free-flours-compare-for-carbs-and-protein-content/ A fantastic chart giving you all the info you need on which flour to use for your particular needs. Feel free to follow me on my Facebook page or check out more from me on my blog at www.zuzanaorbodyrockaddict.blogspot.com.