Going low-carb as a dietary choice can offer an array of benefits, but it also requires that you make some sacrifices and substitutions in your daily meals. If you’ve started or are considering starting a low-carb or keto diet, you need to be aware of the best low-carb keto food options for every recipe – including wheat and flour alternatives.
When it comes to baking, and even some cooking recipes, flour is one of the key ingredients. But white and wheat flour are off the table when you’re consuming only low-carb foods. So, what should you use instead?
In this article, we’ll examine the difference between using coconut flour keto recipes vs. almond flour keto recipes – essentially, which type of low-carb flour is better for your health and overall. Let’s dig in to determine which flour will best meet your needs!
Low-Carb Foods: Coconut Flour vs. Almond Flour
If the keto diet is new to you, there’s a good chance that flour choices other than just regular white flour are also new to you as well! You may actually be surprised that these low-carb foods even exist.
In this article, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of both types of flour; But it’s also important to remember that if you’re going low-carb, whole foods will always be a better choice over processed when it comes to complete nutritional needs. High-carb substitutes such as replacement flours can definitely help you enjoy some of your favorite foods, but should only be consumed in moderation.
As a whole, the majority of your diet when going keto or low-carb should be lots of healthy fats like avocado, and oils like olive and coconut, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, full-fat dairy products, nuts, seeds, and low-carb fruits and veggies. For more tips on embarking on a keto diet for beginners, check out this article.
Keeping in mind that fresh is always best, both almond flour and coconut flour can still be a welcome part of a low-carb diet, when used in moderation. Let’s discuss the differences now…
Almond Flour Keto Pros and Cons
If you enjoy the nutty taste of raw almonds, than you’ll savor baked goods that contain almond flour, as the flour bears a similar taste. Here are the major pros and cons of this flour option when on a keto diet…
Good vitamins and minerals
Almond flour contains quite a bit of nutrients for a processed food, with its star nutrient being vitamin E. One ounce of almond flour contains about 35% of the daily recommended value for this nutrient, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps keep up your body’s defenses against disease. Almond flour also contains good fiber, manganese, magnesium, copper and phosphorus.
Lower in carbs
If you’re only eating very low-carb keto foods, and this is your main focus, than almond flour will be your best option. When comparing almond flour for keto to coconut flour for keto, almond flour has about 6g of net carbs per 1 cup – the amount typically used in many recipes.
In contrast, a ¼ cup serving of coconut flour, (the amount typically used in recipes), has about 8g of net carbs (18g of carbs, 6g of sugar, and 10g of fiber). The carb count is definitely higher for coconut flour overall, which also contains natural sugar.
Easy to bake with
Almond flour is an even alternative for wheat flour – and in many recipes, you can simply replace one for the other. The thing to keep in mind, however, is that since it lacks gluten, baked products may come out flatter and denser than those made with regular flour.
The major con for almond flour has to do with inflammatory fats. Though this flour is rich in beneficial fatty acids, it’s too high in particular ones called omega-6 fats. In modern diets, most people get far too many of these fats, creating an imbalance that can lead to potential health issues.
Having too many omega-6 fats can lead to an inflammatory state in the body. Though this is rarely an issue when eating raw almonds, it’s easy to consume a large amount of them at once in almond flour. It takes about 90 almonds to make just one cup of almond flour!
Coconut Flour Keto Pros and Cons
Moving on, in contrast to the distinct nutty taste of almond flour, coconut flour has only a light coconut taste – and is a much more mild flavored option than its opponent. Here is how this low-carb keto food fairs…
Coconut contains special short-chain fats called medium chain triglycerides (or MCTs) – that you reap the benefits of when you consume coconut flour. MCTs are incredibly beneficial, especially while on the keto diet, because they help switch your body into a fat-burning state – helping to boost the amount of ketones in your blood, and getting you into ketosis.
MCT fats (or MCT Oil which is the supplement form), help to boost your metabolism and provide instant energy along with mental focus – and you can get in on some of these benefits with coconut flour.
Less allergy issues
In addition to containing MCT fats, coconut flour is also a safer option when it comes to allergies (especially when making baked goods for kids). Unfortunately, nuts including almonds are one of the top categories of foods that many people are allergic too. Therefore, if you’re making something for an event at your child’s school, or for more people than just yourself, almond flour is a tougher choice to use. In contrast, coconut is not a high-allergen food, so coconut flour is a safer option.
When it comes to the price of the products, coconut flour is often typically the cheaper option, with many brands being half the price of almond flour. In addition, it’s also more economical for continued used because many recipes call for only about ¼ of coconut flour, whereas almond flour recipes typically call for 1 cup.
Harder to bake with
A slight con of coconut flour, however, is that it’s slightly harder to use in recipes – basically, you have to get used to it. Unlike almond flour, which is a comparable replacement for wheat flour, you need to look for recipes that specifically use coconut flour in them, especially when you first start using this flour option.
That’s because coconut flour soaks up moisture very well, so it can be tricky to use at first, and may result in dryer baked goods. Many recipes that use coconut oil typically use an extra egg or something similar to add in more moisture.
Conclusion: Almond Flour for Keto vs. Coconut Flour For Keto?
In conclusion, when it comes to these two low-carb foods, the answer of which one is best really depends upon your personal preferences. However, if you do opt to go with almond flour, make sure you are only using it in moderation, due to the inflammatory omega-6 fats. Though the flour is otherwise nutritious, it should not be a daily staple, but used for the occasional baked treat.
Want more articles on low-carb, keto living?! Check out our health blog here!