2

votes

Coconut/Almond flour worth it?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 10, 2012 at 2:54 PM

I have seen a ton of recipes that include substituting almond flour or coconut flour in baked goods, or for pancakes etc. I was wondering if this is actually a good idea, or if it is just as bad as eating a pancake or a cookie with wheat flour?

Do you think that if I am going to have dessert or a pancake it would be worth using almond flour or coconut flour, or am I better off just using wheat flour and having the real deal?

I'm worried about this from a calorie/fat/nutrition standpoint, not whether it is strict paleo or not. I am looking to lose a little weight, and I don't want to start making pancakes with almond flour and see some weight gain.

Also, if you could maybe recommend a flour, whether strict paleo or not, that would be least detrimental to my health and goals, that would be awesome! Thank you :)

64660123097f9c1749a2511b99297ad7

(0)

on August 11, 2012
at 03:49 AM

What kind of texture can you get with coconut flour - is it too much to hope for fluffy?

Fb10cf8e5dbac271762e13721181d5dc

(453)

on March 11, 2012
at 05:26 AM

if you're /going/ to cheat, pretty much anything is better than wheat flour.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on March 11, 2012
at 02:33 AM

I've been amazed at how much body a baked dish can have by just beating the egg whites to stiff peaks and then folding in the rest of the ingredients.

94a4a87e3d2e1e9160b6ed77678b4bea

(1311)

on March 11, 2012
at 01:56 AM

This is my approach too!

E687b5eb51456c9a0205aff406f44ca3

on March 11, 2012
at 01:50 AM

there is apparently reason to suspect that the phytates in coconut have minimal mineral-binding properties. see: http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2012/01/coconut-flour-and-phytic-acid-does-it-need-to-be-soaked.html

E05b8d2c9ae8a9a92341785f342f131d

(346)

on March 10, 2012
at 10:09 PM

According to Chris Kresser, paleo substitute flours contain too much phytic acid: "Unfortunately, nut flours have not been soaked and prepared properly, so they’re likely to be loaded with phytic acid. The same is true – I hate to say – for coconut flour, which is now all the rage in the Paleo/GAPS community. Soaking nut or coconut flour for 18 hours before using it can help, but it does change the texture significantly – which many find undesirable." -http://chriskresser.com/another-reason-you-shouldnt-go-nuts-on-nuts

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on March 10, 2012
at 07:47 PM

It's important not to rush this. Give yourself time to discover yourself. Even after almost 3 years, I'm still tweaking, and adjusting for the season, and stress levels and other things. Be patient with yourself and you'll find that your successes come with much less worry on your part. *smiles*

Dea5f440698f5488b975ada2f61daa0d

(393)

on March 10, 2012
at 06:37 PM

Going Paleo has become a lifestyle change for me, but not so much in the kitchen. I say that only because we never really baked lots of cakes and cookies to start with. I did make a lemon-cranberry muffin with coconut flour, but next time i will use orange instead of lemon. When we realized that Going Paleo meant no more flour, we stopped making things like pancakes, which we no longer miss, anyway. We have been enriched by opening our minds to the variety of foods we can eat.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:55 PM

Oh, and I would avoid touching wheat flour. Ever. Again.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f

(55)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:53 PM

I've only been doing this for about 2ish weeks so far, so I haven't really learned how my body reacts to things yet. I am hoping I will get to a point where I know what works for me and what doesn't soon! Thanks for the advice!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:42 PM

I made the realization at some point that making baked goods with paleo approved ingredients felt like it gave me a license to go overboard. Not good for the waistline.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f

(55)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:42 PM

I'm not trying to lose a significant amount of weight, mainly just fat loss. I want to lean up, essentially. I just don't want to accidentally cause myself to GAIN weight! But thank you for your advice, I will definitely check out those recipes :)

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f

(55)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:40 PM

Thanks! I will have to try out baking without flour... I really love to cook/bake, so I love trying out all these new recipes I have found on Paleo.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f

(55)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:39 PM

Thank you for your response! I was sort of leaning towards coconut flour, because so many people have mentioned being careful around nuts and I already eat a good bit of them.

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20 Answers

8
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:30 PM

If weight loss is your goal, the sooner you break the psychological ties to SAD foods, the better. Think of baked goods like smoothies: they concentrate things like calories and sugars into hyper-palatable packages. I realize this is easier said than done.

Now to answer your question, if you're going to do it anyway, I recommend coconut flour over almond. Almond flour's O6 to O3 ratio is outta whack, and it's highly caloric.

As for recipes, try elanaspantry.com. Mark Sisson's cookbook features a few coconut flour recipes, including one for pumpkin muffins. I have a recipe for a Big Ass Pancake on my blog: http://paleoperiodical.com/2011/12/08/recipe-big-ass-pancake/

I save these sorts of things for a special occasion or when I'm going to a social gathering. They can really illustrate for SAD eaters how truly we are not suffering over here.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f

(55)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:42 PM

I'm not trying to lose a significant amount of weight, mainly just fat loss. I want to lean up, essentially. I just don't want to accidentally cause myself to GAIN weight! But thank you for your advice, I will definitely check out those recipes :)

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:55 PM

Oh, and I would avoid touching wheat flour. Ever. Again.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:42 PM

I made the realization at some point that making baked goods with paleo approved ingredients felt like it gave me a license to go overboard. Not good for the waistline.

5
20cc903ebccaeb1e652da3a596e8dfb4

(1038)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:26 PM

Coconut is the way to go for a few reasons.

-It's cheaper. A pound of almond flour is often $10. Coconut is usually $8.

-You don't have to use nearly as much coconut flour because it is more absorbant. making it the MUCH better deal.

-Coconut flour's carbs are mostly fiber (more than half the total carbs).

-Almond flour is very high in Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats. Coconut flour is not. Most fat in coconut flour is medium chain saturated fatty acids

-I personally prefer the taste and consistency of coconut flour baked goods over almond flour stuff. But that's just me.

So yeah, coconut flour all the way. For price, health, and IMO taste.

Don't be afraid to use almond flour, but do it sparingly because it's still a lot of Omega-6 and refined carbs. And I still wouldn't binge on coconut flour, but it's safer than Almond.

Both are better than eating wheat though.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f

(55)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:39 PM

Thank you for your response! I was sort of leaning towards coconut flour, because so many people have mentioned being careful around nuts and I already eat a good bit of them.

64660123097f9c1749a2511b99297ad7

(0)

on August 11, 2012
at 03:49 AM

What kind of texture can you get with coconut flour - is it too much to hope for fluffy?

4
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 11, 2012
at 01:12 AM

If you have any kind of digestive issue, I would recommend avoiding both. The antinutrients in almond and the fructans in coconut flour can irritate the digestive tract. On an acute level, I probably react to both of them worse than I do to wheat. I don't bake much, but when I do I seem to tolerate fermented pseudo-grain flours like buckwheat or amaranth best. Or bland nothing starches like cassava or rice.

2
B33c263fd0fcff8b59e63dd2179e88a7

(151)

on June 24, 2012
at 10:08 AM

You can make delicious pancakes with JUST egg and banana!

2
C8cc34513aee8eccc3dd47bc7ef4fbea

on March 10, 2012
at 07:33 PM

I buy both. It's fun trying new recipes with the coconut and almond flours. I don't worry so much about the calories. It's about NOT using grains. The cookies I make are delicious as are the pancakes and bread! Just have to treat the food like any other "treat" don't over eat!

94a4a87e3d2e1e9160b6ed77678b4bea

(1311)

on March 11, 2012
at 01:56 AM

This is my approach too!

2
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:33 PM

The trick with all of this is that there are no pat answers. Every body is different, and is going to respond differently to foods. Wheat is pretty much bad news across the board, as are most grains, but there IS a body of wisdom out there that says that naturally fermented, sprouted grains may have a place in the diet.

For me, occasional treats with coconut flour, hazelnut flour, pistachio flour or macadamia nut flour are ok. Almond flour is a problem for me -- can't eat it. Even a little bit sets me off. Other people have no problem with it at all.

On the other hand, I have a diet in which ~65-75% of my calories come from fat (on which I've lost 175+ lbs), and some people just can't do a diet that high in fat, either.

I'd suggest that you try out the recipes -- NOT every day. Most days, if you're trying to lose weight, should probably be comprised of meat/poultry/fish and veggies (I eat a lot of spinach and cauliflower--but again, some folks have issues with those, too...). I only "treat" with things like hazelnut bread and pistachio egg noodles once a week or once every couple of weeks. Over the past 2.5 years, that's given me the opportunity to try a LOT of "alternative-binder" recipes, though, and that's the key to making primal/paleo/ancestrally-inspired health and nutrition work for you. Try things. Don't try to exactly replace what you're leaving behind...but experiment to make a place in your diet for all kinds of new options.

One thing that -didn't- work well for me was "cheating" using foods from before I made the change... going back to the old foods I recognized as "cheat" foods. I found that the week or so of getting back on track after a Standard American Diet (SAD) cheat was simply not worth the pain... so that's my experience. Hope this helped.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f

(55)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:53 PM

I've only been doing this for about 2ish weeks so far, so I haven't really learned how my body reacts to things yet. I am hoping I will get to a point where I know what works for me and what doesn't soon! Thanks for the advice!

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on March 10, 2012
at 07:47 PM

It's important not to rush this. Give yourself time to discover yourself. Even after almost 3 years, I'm still tweaking, and adjusting for the season, and stress levels and other things. Be patient with yourself and you'll find that your successes come with much less worry on your part. *smiles*

1
5bd61c4447cfefef1021edf8cabe2442

on July 05, 2012
at 08:35 PM

On paper, coconut flour is the ultimate paleo flour (well, debatable phytates aside) but the only problem is, it's horrible to bake with and needs to cool right down before it's any good.

The other two 'safe starch' options are plantain and tapioca flour. No phytates or omega 6 like in nut flour and a little better to work with than coconut. I have found, the best solution is to create a blend with either 50% tapioca or plantain and 50% coconut so you moderate the carbs on the main flours and get the best of both worlds. Also, a 50% coconut, 25% plantain, 25% tapioca works well also. Experiment, see what works for you.

More details here: http://www.primod.co.uk/food/better-paleo-flours/

Obviously, baking like this should be a treat anyway as it's way to high carb to be a central part of any diligent paleo lifestyle but... if you have kids, and want them to have healthy treats, then a paleo style muffin or pancake is a lot better than the wheat based garbage they would be eating and hey, even cavemen found massive honey stashes and gorged every now and again. :)

1
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on June 24, 2012
at 08:50 PM

Here's how I view it: the primary mission statement for paleo is "eat real food". So anytime I look at food that's processed, I look back at what it came from. So when you're talking about nut flours, or with juice, or anything like that, look at what it took to make it. In the case of juice, an 8 oz glass of orange juice takes something like 6 oranges to make, so would you eat 6 oranges in the time it takes you to drink a glass of juice? Same with nut flours, look at how much it took to make the flour, would you eat that much of the real food? If that's ok with you then fine, if not, skip it.

The other side of this is that I'm against all fake paleoification of other foods. So I don't to paleo pancake, paleo muffins, paleo cookies. My rule is that if the food begins with "paleo-" it's not paleo.

1
Fa767c8f1aad9c97793f23045383aad3

on June 24, 2012
at 08:21 PM

I seem to be in the minority, but I strongly prefer the flavor and texture of baked goods made with almond flour. Baked goods are an occasional treat for me.

Sometimes I do mostly almond flour with some rice flour, an idea I got from this fabulous recipe for Rhubarb Lemon Almond Cake: http://www.food52.com/recipes/12553_glutenfree_rhubarb_lemon_and_almond_cake

But for either coconut or almond flour, if you have high standards and don't want to waste such expensive ingredients, it's important to find tested recipes from a reliable source. Elana's Pantry has some good ones. Get recommendations from paleo food bloggers on pinterest or twitter, or you may end up trying all the many many bad recipes for paleo pancakes on the internet like me...

1
9a86fa04b1a69b788e379093c7b83ef5

(402)

on March 11, 2012
at 01:11 AM

I stay away from them. I'd rather just eat whole almonds, or coconut meat instead of the flour.

1
F80aaa96354eb749a8a5efdda3feba7d

on March 11, 2012
at 12:58 AM

Coconut is better than almond yes but the flavor is so coconutty that it doesn't work for some items. So almond flour is just the better idea. After almond flour if I needed a really good baked good I would use rice and/or tapioca flour. Never under any circumstance should you have wheat ever again. Once going paleo special treats became coconut pumpkin banana muffins. Or almond butter banana pancakes. Special treats though not every day. Anything with gluten is now looked at as poison basically to us.

1
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:26 PM

Ha, ha! I was just eyeballing a bags of almond flour for mail order, and gave up after a few minutes of comparing prices. I've yet to find that coconut and almond flour are necessities. I don't know if my fears about oxidation with the oils in almond flour being cooked for 20-50 minutes in a medium to high heat oven are founded, but it has occurred to me. Trader Joe's has Almond Meal, that I believe is close to the same price per pound as the regular almonds, I've used it to make muffins before with success, certainly not a flour texture, but it holds things together.

Coconut flour though more temperature stable, can be tricky for baking pastries that aren't too dry. In a pinch, like in the case of wheat-free pancakes, I've been pretty happy with both white rice flour and tapioca flour (both are amazingly high glycemic foods though, so if you are trying to lose weight maybe not the best ideas either).

Wheat flour, especially modern wheat flour of the Triticum aestivum dwarf mutant variety that you will encounter in pretty much every flour bag in the US and the UK unless you search out ancient strains of wheat, is a modern laboratory derived hybridization dating back only to the 1970's, and because of substantial chromosomal differences between that and older wheat varieties, it is seriously suspect in my book as to whether it can be consumed safely. Here's a nifty article about it: http://www.trackyourplaque.com/blog/2010/12/put-lipstick-on-a-dwarf.html

That said, if you have sensitivities to wheat, even the ancient strains can still be quite problematic going through the ol' gut, at least they have been for me. And in spite of all that, I will still eat croissants if I find myself in a good French bakery, which luckily doesn't happen more than a few times per year.

I've been having fun messing around with baking recipes that require little to no need for flour. Egg leavened dark chocolate souffle made with just a little rice or tapioca flour comes out super tasty. Oven pancake made with pureed banana, sweet potato, or pumpkin doesn't really even need flour. Muffins can be held together with shredded zucchini or the above purees too. As long as there is egg and some starch for it to bind to things seem to be sticking together.

I'm just now getting back into the idea of baking with paleoish ingredients after having taken a hiatus from baking anything. I felt like I needed to adapt to a whole new paradigm of cooking early on and baked goods distracted from fully making that leap. For others I think it can bridge the gap and make the transition go more smoothly, it all depends on your style.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on March 11, 2012
at 02:33 AM

I've been amazed at how much body a baked dish can have by just beating the egg whites to stiff peaks and then folding in the rest of the ingredients.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f

(55)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:40 PM

Thanks! I will have to try out baking without flour... I really love to cook/bake, so I love trying out all these new recipes I have found on Paleo.

0
0294feadf7d78f1c35a3b1056c18af65

on July 07, 2013
at 07:45 PM

I've been cooking with coconut flour for months now and I absolutely love it. The texture satisfies my carb cravings and the high fiber keeps my digestion and weight in order and steady. I cook and bake with it a lot- there are many recipes on my blog if you need any help getting started- http://calitocountry.blogspot.com/

I highly recommend coconut flour, and I promise it doesn't taste like coconut!

0
34a31e6e59ee73ac7ddfd96c3e653919

on May 24, 2013
at 12:30 AM

theres also plaintain, banana, tapioca, arrowroot, and sweet potato flour...

and for some not paleo but still good options theres white rice flour, and buckwheat flour...maybe quinoa flour but thats going to be quite high in saponins

for people like me who are underweight the last thing i want is all that fiber in coconut flour...i dont know why anyone would need that much fiber. i wouldnt cook with almonds either due to the pufas

0
8442d2589221a72442b815e820f521c5

on May 23, 2013
at 09:43 PM

Paleo is no different than any other diet - unproven until further study, and arguing over trivial details.

The most important part of both almond AND coconut flour is that it's LOW CARB.

Nothing is better for your health than NOT BEING FAT. CARBS MAKE YOU FAT. This will always, until the end of time - be more important than Omegas or Gluten. Or hey! Remember goose stepping to the grocery stores to buy margarines because it was "better for us". Or how cholesterol was bad for us, wait, now it's inflammation, from sugar, that prompts the cholesterol. See? We're learning more as we go along.

Gluten free is the new Cholestrol, or Fat Free. It's bullshit. It's the CARBOHYDRATE'S in the wheat that are far more dangerous than Gluten.

The rest are erroneous details and fodder for shit we just haven't proven yet.

Eat, not too much, mostly plants. And that will mind your Carbs/Sugars which is the deadly part. End of story.

0
6643ea20685c2213e06181c17a79ef7f

on March 29, 2013
at 11:07 PM

Well I was looking for an alternative for a breakfast that didn't include eggs or meat as my last blood test revealed I had quite elevated uric acid so was trying to diminish the amount of protein I was eating. I found a lovely recipe for Coconut porridge with Bananas and had that for a while but I notice that it totally constipated me. I went from being a totally regular, never had a painful bowel movement in my life, to sitting on the toilet pushing with sweat coming down my back. Not fun.

It took me a while but it became apparent that this was totally the effect of the coconut flour which many say relieves constipation. However coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquid and even with drinking a lot of water and eating lot's of veggies, I still have problems so now I severely have to moderate the use of coconut flour which is disappointing as that breakfast was so satisfying especially after a run in the morning as it's quite high in saturated fats.

0
58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

on June 24, 2012
at 08:27 PM

FYI...in baking, almond flour and coconut flour are NOT interchangeable. They have different properties and reactions. So if you find an awesome recipe for coconut flour waffles, but you only have almond flour on hand...you need to find an almond flour waffle recipe.

0
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 24, 2012
at 09:25 AM

Coconut flour is mostly fibre, most of which is insoluble, so its calorie low.

0
7dc3e03869e499cdf5c3150986112cf4

on June 24, 2012
at 08:34 AM

so, I'm very new to all this and have so far been only cooking with almond flour and potato flour mainly for pizza bases and breads but am very concerned about the waistline. I am basically needing to eat grain free, gluten free and rice free can anyone tell me what I can use that is low fat keeping in mind I cant eat any grains including rice and maize

0
Fc6a9e07f6056d465573c8969d3a2ddd

(370)

on March 10, 2012
at 06:54 PM

As a committed baker pre-paleo (with a shelf of flour- and butter-smudged cookbooks to prove it), giving up baking was my single biggest mental obstacle to trying the diet. Once I started, though, it quickly became clear that the paleo baked goods based on "alternative" flours just don't hold a candle to the real thing. You have to do an enormous amount of modification to get ground almonds or dehydrated coconut powder to behave the same as wheat flour in the complex chemical reaction that is "baking" as we know it. Also, those nut-based flours tend to make incredibly calorific pancakes and muffins, and my metabolism just can't handle it.

What to do instead? Luckily it seems like I'm not gluten-intolerant, so I bide my time and enjoy "the real thing" in moderation when it comes along. Case in point: the batch of red velvet cupcakes currently on my counter, baked for a party tonight. When I made them, I licked the spoon. A lot. And I'm not sorry. If you have problems with wheat, then you'll need to develop a different approach.

I don't know how long you've been paleo, but you may also find that you miss the baking less once you've been in detox for a while. I definitely miss the ritual of baking, but since I've realized how negatively my beloved pancakes affect my digestion and energy level, I have much less desire to eat (or make) them.

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