Move over coconut flour. You too, almond flour. You guys have been great for gut health and keeping it going in ketosis. But it’s time to make room for the new alternative flours on the block.
Just a little friendly disclaimer before these surprising alternative keto-friendly flours are revealed. As with any other food, keep portion sizes in moderation, because every flour—even keto-friendly ones—contain carbs.
But is there a trick to keeping portion sizes in moderation? After all, let’s say you make a delicious almond flour, keto-friendly dessert at home. Even though it’s low carb you may still be tempted to eat the whole thing.
Well, the good news is that many alternative flours are sort of like Miracle Noodles. Both Miracle Noodles and the alternative flours below contain prebiotic fiber or act as resistant starch.
Resistant starches don’t get digested easily and that’s not a bad thing. Instead, they travel to the large intestine (the colon) where they act as a prebiotic fiber. Prebiotic fiber is your friendly gut bacteria’s favorite food. So when you consume alternative flours with prebiotic fiber you’re feeding your beneficial gut microbes. And that’s what makes them flourish and crowd out the bad bacteria.
And because the prebiotic fiber makes its way to your large intestine mostly undigested, it can help you stay full for longer. That’s how you beat temptation.
So which alternative flours are keto-friendly and have prebiotic fiber?
This is no shameless promotional pitch for Miracle Noodle. Glucomannan flour, also called konjac mannan or konjac flour, comes from the root of the yam-like plant (konjac) from which Miracle Noodles are made. They’re a great substitute for regular flour. In fact, just one teaspoon of it equals 2 cups of regular flour. And at 0 net grams of carbs, what’s not to love.
Research studies show that glucomannan is a promising dietary option for battling obesity.
Say what? Aren’t bananas super high in sugar? They sure are. In fact, the average banana contains almost 25 grams of net carbs per day. Just having one might kick you out of ketosis if you’re not careful with your other carbs.
So how can banana flour be a healthy alternative flour for the keto lifestyle? Well truth be told, banana flour isn’t ultra low carb. But if you stick to a serving size and watch your other carbs for the day, banana flour can be keto-friendly.
The reason why banana flour is a healthy alternative flour is because to produce the flour, green bananas are used. Green bananas don’t have as much fructose. Instead, they have more starch. But it’s not the same kind of starch as say mashed potatoes. It’s the special kind of starch you just learned about that’s resistant to digestion (resistant starch).
If you’re tired of coconut flour, give squash a try. Butternut squash flour can replace regular flour. According to the MyFitnessPal app, a quarter-cup of butternut squash contains just 5 grams of carbs. Bonus: squashes contain prebiotic fiber.
It’s one thing for healthy veggies like squash to make this list of lower-carb alternative flours. But it’s surprising that flours made from fruits are on this list. Like bananas, apples can also be made into a flour for lower-carb baking recipes.
The great thing about apple flour is that it contains about four times as much fiber as regular baking flour. And that fiber is in the form of … you guessed it, prebiotic fiber. But as mentioned, keep the portion sizes in check. Both banana flour and apple flour, being that they are fruits, are higher in carbs than konjac flour and other varieties.
High in protein and nutrients, chestnut flour is like a multivitamin supplement in flour form. Like other flours on this list, it’s not ultra low-carb so to beat a dead horse, police your portion sizes. Remember, for those on the keto lifestyle, it’s not just about keeping carbs in check. Eating nutrient-dense foods should also be a priority.
But if you can control your portion sizes, why not have a keto cheat day without kicking yourself out of ketosis. Enjoy a baked treat made with highly-nutritious chestnut flour. But do stay away from it if you have an allergy to tree nuts.
Sunflower Seed Flour
Sunflower seeds are awesome for a salad topping or for eating while you’re bored out of your mind watching a baseball game.
But did you know that sunflower seed flour is keto-friendly, clocking in at under 20 grams of net carbs in a whole cup.
And last but not least, there’s tigernut flour, which was the focus of a recent article on the Miracle Noodle blog. Learn why tigernut flour is great for gut health and your waistline here.
If you need to restrict your carb count to 25 net grams or less per day to stay in ketosis then some of these alternative flours might not be a good fit. But for many people as long as you watch your carb count, you can enjoy healthy baked treats made with these flours. And your gut microbiome will be very happy you did.
Got any other alternative flour recommendations? Leave a comment…