So you put the lime in the coconut and oh wait… wrong article. When it comes to baking on a keto diet, you’re trying to cut carbs right? Well then, look no further than the miracle fruit of coconut. Many people on low carb diets have heard of coconut flower, a nutritious and healthy alternative of regular wheat and other flowers made of grains. Coconut flower has been introduced in a plethora of recipes that fit the keto diet, but why? What makes it so great? Is it really that healthy? Well the answer is yes. Coconut flour is super rich in many things you need in your keto diet, while being low in sugar, carbs, and calories.
What is coconut flour made of?
Well as simple as it sounds, this flour is made of purse coconut, and nothing more. After the coconut milk is extracted, the pulp of the coconut is dried out, and then ground very finely to create a flour (out of just coconut powder). The health benefits of coconuts don’t go away. It’s great for electrolytes, has a high amount of fiber, and can be used with just about anything.
The Health Factors
Coconut hast a lot of nutrients in it. It’s very high in dietary fibers, and in one fourth of a cup of this flour contains only 120 calories, but has 4g of fats, 16g carbs, 10g of fiber (that means only 6 grams of net carbs per ¼ cup), 2g of it is sugars, and it contains approximately 4g of protein. And having the electrolyte minerals manganese, calcium and selenium, coconuts are very great when it comes to trying to avoid electrolyte deficiency. So what can the coconuts do? Well, let’s find out a little bit more.
- Fiber is very big for aiding in your digestive track. Both soluble, and insoluble fibers help to keep your track going, and they help to soften stools, and at the same time keep you from going too much or too little, plus they soak up waters in your stools in order to give you good bowel movements.
- Fiber can also help you lose weight with conjunction with things such as proteins and fats, which coconut has. Proteins are vital to helping you feel satisfied, and you won’t eat too much and have less junk food cravings.
- Most high-carb flours make your blood sugar levels and insulin levels skyrocket, then plummet. This can result in both high blood sugar, and a diabetic hypoglycemic episode, and it can increase systemic inflammation.
High fiber, but low carb flours help to maintain proper blood sugar levels, which means you won’t have any spikes, and it can help you metabolize foods and other things quicker.
- Healthy fats are the keys of keto. Medium-chain fats especially are great for quick energy, but they’re not as bad as short chain triglycerides, as they have been discovered to both convert into energy from ketones quickly. It doesn’t mean they’re burnt as fast though.
- Lauric acid is one of the main products that are found in good foods for our bodies in keto, and it is a strong combatant to viruses and fungi, as well as having antibacterial properties. So with all of these health benefits alone, it’s no wonder why they’re used in so many keto recipes.
How to Bake with Coconut Flour
Well, fiber is a carbohydrate, so one may think that coconut flour is high in carbs, but fiber is a carbohydrate that we don’t digest, and it ends up going through our bodies and coming out as waste. Also, you don’t need a lot of coconut flour as you would regular flour in other recipes. This stuff absorbs moisture like you wouldn’t believe!
What do we mean? ¼ cup of coconut flour contains 6g of carbs (not total carbs, but net carbs). You can actually create an entire batch of cookies and only use ¼ cup of coconut flour, as compared to about 3 cups of regular flour. This means each cookie doesn’t even contain 0.5g of net carbs from the flour alone. And what’s even better, you can use it for a lot of recipes.
Common Mistakes to Avoid. It’s not White or Wheat Flour
Many people try to bake with coconut flour, and they’ll use the same amount of coconut flour and white flour; resulting in a brick of coconut flower when they’re finished.
When using coconut flour, you have to use more eggs because coconut is so dense. Unlike wheat flours, coconut is just coconut, so in order to make those puffy soft cookies or brownies; you have to use about 3 times the amount of eggs you would normally use.
You can combine almond flour and coconut flour together. These recipes are also often better than those that just contain coconut flour. It may require a little less eggs this way, and you will get a texture by mixing these of regular white/wheat flour.
Baking Isn’t the Only Thing
When it comes to using coconut oil for the keto diet you’re on, don’t be surprised to see dinner foods also contain it. Since it’s so low carb, coconut flour can be used in gluten/grain free pizza crust, as breading for various types of meat, your own baked bread, and as a binding agent (just like regular flour) to make meatloaf, salmon patties, and more.
What about Almond Flour?
Almond flour is well known in keto recipes as well, but it doesn’t pack quite the amount of health benefits that coconut flour offers. It does contain less net carbs, because almonds have more fat, protein and calories. Almond flour doesn’t have as many net carbs as coconut flour, but it doesn’t have all of the same health benefits. Not only this, but almond flour is a tree nut, which can be a potential allergen to many people (nuts are the most common form of food allergy in the world, and coconuts are safe from being on that list because they aren’t a real nut, even though they grow on trees).
Almond flour does contain more Omega-3’s than coconut oil, but coconuts have more mid-chain triglycerides. That’s not to say that coconuts are healthier or that almonds are; they just have different types of triglycerides that are digested by the body. Sometimes depending on your diet and digestive system, it may be easier to digest MCT’s (mid-chain triglycerides).
So How Can I Use Coconut Flour Properly?
Be sure that when you are baking you follow a recipe to the ‘T’. You want to ensure you don’t use too much, as this can increase your net carb counts, as well as make your food not taste the way you’re wanting it to, or like it would when you use regular flour made from grains. The important thing to remember is that as mentioned earlier, you add more things like eggs to counter the density of the coconut flower. There are plenty of resources both online that include coconut flower for keto recipes, and many of them also use almond flour so not only are you getting both nutrients, and the benefits of both, you’re cutting out some of the carbs that would be required by as compared to using only coconut flower. When you go to the grocery store, it’s very advisable that you buy both almond flour and coconut flour. Also, your regular grocery store may or may not carry these types of flowers, however big chain stores may have them readily available in their organic sections. Otherwise, you can definitely find keto online and order it before you intend to start your ketosis journey so you have it on hand during your diet.
The Final Answer: Is Coconut Flour Good For Keto?
Well, we’ve discovered that coconut is an awesome way to sub out white flour, or wheat flower. If you’re allergic to nuts, it’s a perfect way to avoid having those allergens in your diet, and it is gluten free if you have a gluten allergy. Not only that, as mentioned before, its carb count is so low that it’s perfect for keto.
You can make literally just about anything using coconut flower. From pizzas, to using it as a “crusty” breading or batter for your fish, chicken, pork, or other meats, you’re getting all the same savory goodness that you would get with regular flower, except you’re not getting all the bad stuff that comes with it; during keto, that would simply be the carbs.
While it is not a true tree nut, you should always be aware that some people are allergic to coconut. Some people experience the same types of food reactions as they would with nuts, and others simply have symptoms if they eat too much coconut such as: getting constipated (this is actually a result of getting too much fiber in your diet), intestinal issues (while coconuts can help fight bacteria and other problems, eating too much of it can destroy the good bacteria that is in our digestive track), and a few other common problems. But eaten in amounts that are usually listed in your daily keto recipes, coconut is generally very safe.