I”m a huge fan of low carb baking and there are many benefits of low carb flours to think about if you’re considering using them. Some of my favorites are coconut flour, ground flax, milled chia seeds (also known as chia flour), oat fiber (which is calorie free), and almond flour (in small amounts). Other healthier flours you can also use include quinoa flour or oat flour. Though quinoa and oat flour are higher in carbs, they are better than refined flour or other wheat versions of flours. To learn why you should start using low carb flours, check out my favorite reasons below. I hope you’ll be more inspired to use them than just turning to plain white or whole wheat flour.
1. Low Glycemic
Quite possibly my favorite of all benefits of low carb flours is they are incredibly low glycemic. Most all are very high in fiber, and they all have little to no grams of sugar or excess carbs outside of fiber. Fiber in flour is okay, since it’s a form of a carbohydrate that slows down your blood sugar, and it’s excreted right out of your body. Coconut flour, oat fiber, ground flax, and milled chia are the highest in fiber, and have little to no fat per serving. Almond flour is lower in fiber and higher in fat, but still full of nutrients. All of these flours are glycemic friendly in comparison to wheat flours, which though they are whole grain, they are not so blood sugar friendly.
2. Perfect for Thickening
One reason many people use wheat based flours in recipes is wheat contains gluten, which naturally thickens baking goods, and most any product it’s added to. Gluten sort of swells when mixed with water, which is perfect for your baked goods, but not so much if you have a gluten sensitivity or allergy. Instead of using wheat based or other gluten filled flours, low carb flours still thicken your recipes, but it’s all due to the high fiber content, not the gluten. Low carb flours also contain a bit of protein, but it’s not gluten proteins like wheat contains. All of these components of low carb flours help them to naturally thicken your recipes, without the ill effects gluten brings.
Low carb flours are incredibly filling too, which is one reason I love them so much. I’m not nearly as hungry after having a baked good with a low carb flour as I used to be after a “healthy whole grain muffin,” as they’re called. Low carb flours fill you up through protein, healthy fats, and mostly fiber, which is amazing for your body. You can not only eat one or two baked goods with low carb flours guilt-free, but also not be hungry an hour later as a result.
4. Easy to Use
Many people are intimidated by low carb flours, but I completely disagree that you can’t use them to make anything you want. My personal favorites are coconut flour and NuNaturals oat fiber. Both work perfectly together in a recipe, and they’re incredibly tasty and tender. I use equal amounts of both to make whatever I want, and simply use the same ratio of flour called for. You might need to increase the liquids or eggs a little, since coconut requires more eggs or liquids to help it thicken than wheat flour. I’d be sure you get a good recipe before you start baking with coconut flour.
5. Vitamins and Minerals
Low carb flours are also some of the best flours you can use. They’re less refined than wheat, not bleached or deodorized, and most all retain their vitamins and minerals. Vitamins such as B vitamins, Vitamin E, and minerals such as magnesium and potassium, are all well retained in low carb flours, making them fantastic for you. Omega 3s in chia and flax are also fantastic in flour-based forms and they’re not refined, but simply ground, which means they haven’t been stripped of natural nutrients. Just be sure to store them in your fridge or freezer since they can go rancid at room temperature.
6. Naturally Tasty
One of the most well known benefits of using low carb flours is they are so much tastier than bland wheat flours. They taste nothing like cardboard, but instead each of them have their own nutty flavor. Coconut flour is my favorite because it’s sweeter than other flours and tastes a little like vanilla cake batter. I also like flax mill and chia flour, which have a naturally rich taste, almost like whole grain breads or breadcrumbs. They also pair perfectly with cinnamon and other sweet spices, along with savory ones.
7. Better for Your Metabolism
Lastly, low carb flours are better for your metabolism. They’re much friendlier to your body due to their effects on your glycemic index. Low carb flours are also perfect for managing your weight due to their low net carb content, which helps increase fat burn in your body. Though some whole grains can have benefits, the benefits of a high fiber, lower glycemic diet are increasing every single day through research.
I’d also like to share with you a few of my favorite bloggers who use low carb flours liberally. You can find them all in the links below. Do you use low carb flours? What’s your favorite one?