Is keto flour better for you than all-purpose flour?
As much as the keto diet is controversial, there are definite perks for anyone using some keto flours instead of all-purpose flour.
I’m not saying you should jump on the keto bandwagon necessarily, but there are some big perks to ditching some of the old stand-bys in cooking.
Let’s face it: we are all subjected to volumes of sugar, carbs, and processed grains.
All. Day. Long.
Keto flour substitutes can be less processed, more nutritious, and more filling than wheat flour or all-purpose flour. Because of this, they also reduce inflammation. For that reason, they can be used on any type of reduced carb diet, such as a keto diet, diabetic meal plan, or anyone wanting to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
In this post, find out what kind of keto flour is best for using in your everyday recipes, the health benefits, the best keto flour to buy, and how to use the various types of keto flours.
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Types of Keto Flour
From common to completely uncommon, here are 9 keto flour types that you can find on the market today.
All are gluten-free too.
Some are definitely more affordable than others and some work easily into your typical bread recipes, while others do not.
- Coconut flour
- Almond flour
- Psyllium husk
- Ground flaxseed
- Chia seed
- Sunflower seed meal (good for nut allergy)
- Vital wheat gluten
- Cricket flour haha
- Oat fiber and oat bran
- Lupin flour from lupin beans
Each of these flour is going to have some unique nutritional content and characteristics when using them in recipes, so I will go into that.
Keto flour nutrition comparisons
When looking at keto flour versus all-purpose flour, you are going to find that all are much healthier than all-purpose wheat flour. Most vitamins and minerals are much higher in keto flours than in wheat flour too.
These keto options are all low carb flours if you look at the net carb amounts. Net carbs are simply the total carb minus the fiber content.
Here is the breakdown of nutrients for a typical 2 tablespoon serving for each of the types of flour in comparison to all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour.
|All-purpose wheat flour||59||<1||<1||12||12||<1|
|Whole wheat flour||54||1||1||11||9.5||1.5|
As you can see, all the keto flours have much less carb than all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Almost all of them have a lot more gut-friendly fibers too.
Coconut flour is my go-to flour because it is nutritious, high in fiber, and tasty. And a little bit goes a long way. Coconut also happens to be a sustainable crop, so lands aren’t deforested when growing coconut.
When you use coconut flour, you will need less overall flour. For example, if you make pancakes, you use about a fourth of the total flour than you would if you used all-purpose flour.
Full of gut-healing types of fats, coconut has a unique fat called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s). These fats are a fuel source for our intestinal cells, our brain, and help make ketones if you are on a ketogenic diet.
Recipes to try with coconut flour:
Good brands of coconut flour:
- Healthworks Coconut Flour, which is USDA certified organic and tastes great, making it the best coconut flour for keto.
- Milliard Organic Coconut Flour is USDA certified organic and unrefined coconut flour.
Almond flour carbs and coconut flour carbs are about identical at only 2 grams net carb per 2 tablespoon serving, so the difference is going to be taste and baking characteristics.
Almond flour or almond meal is a great low carb flour for a keto diet that is a good substitute for wheat flour. It is also nutritious and fits into Paleo and ketogenic meal plans quite easily. It also is a good flour to use if you are going gluten-free.
Unlike coconut flour, you will need more almond flour than all-purpose flour in recipes. For example, if your recipe calls for 1 cup of all-purpose flour, you may need 1.5 cups of almond flour in your recipe.
Did you know that almonds are actually a seed, not a nut?
You also will want to cook almond flour at a lower temperature, about 25 degrees Fahrenheit cooler, than regular flour because it can easily burn. This is why I prefer coconut flour in a recipe like a pancake instead of almond flour.
Also, this flour needs to be refrigerated after opening.
You will also need an extra egg or extra baking powder to get a fluffy product.
Recipes to try with almond flour:
Good almond flour brands
Food to Live organic almond flour, 4 lbs of tasty organic and kosher almond flour
Oh! Nuts blanched almond flour, 5 lbs of highly rated almond flour
Ground flaxseed flour
By far, flaxseed flour is the most ideal keto flour out there because it has a ratio of fat to carb of 9:0 for net carbs. Fats, by the way, help the body to get into a state of ketosis, which is the whole goal of a ketogenic diet.
Flax seed flour or flax meal is one of the low carb flours that are good used along with other keto flours. This nutritious flour is the lowest carb flour substitute along with chia seed flour.
You can make your own ground flaxseed in a coffee grinder or if you are wanting to make a lot of it, you can add it to a good blender, such as a Vitamix.
Flax seeds have low allergy potential so can be used in many autoimmune protocol diets. Ranking as the best flour for keto because it is carb-free and contains plenty of fats, a flaxseed meal will help encourage ketosis.
These nutritious seeds have a high omega 3 content as alpha-linolenic acid: over 4 grams per 2 tablespoons and 0.4 mg of thiamine, or about 20% of your daily recommend thiamine intake for the day.
Due to its very high fiber content, a little bit goes a very long way.
Make sure to hydrate with plenty of water when you eat flax seeds because of the fiber content: these little seeds otherwise can soak up water in your gut and cause binding problems that you don’t want.
Recipes to try with flaxseed flour
You will typically see flax seed flours being used in recipes like homemade crackers or wrap recipes like this:
Good flax seed flour brands to try
Viva Naturals organic ground flax seed flour- make sure to store in the freezer or refrigerator
Healthworks Flax Seed ground powder-refrigerate after opening
Whole flax seed
Psyllium husk flour
Psyllium seed is a very high fiber seed that can be incorporated into low carb flour mixtures and keto recipes.
Using psyllium in recipes isn’t new, but hasn’t become popular until recently. In the past, psyllium has mostly been used as a fiber supplement for bowel regularity.
Psyllium flour adds some good variety and improves moisture content in recipes.
The perks of using psyllium husk are that it is a natural way to fill up without added sugar or carbs. With only 1 net carb per 2 tablespoons, this flour substitute is very keto-friendly.
Just make sure that you eat small amounts of recipes with psyllium, especially if your body isn’t used to fiber. Make sure to also drink plenty of fluids when you start adding in more fiber foods like psyllium.
That said, psyllium flour is a great addition to just about any baked recipe. You will want to add hot water to hydrate the psyllium in these recipes as advised by the PCOS Kitchen.
Psyllium flour recipes to try
Good brands of psyllium husk
Chia seed flour
Chia seed flour, also known as chia seed powder, is an ancient food with new uses. You can buy chia seed flour or make your own by simply blending some whole chia seeds in a coffee grinder or Vitamix blender.
This healthy seed is good to use in baked goods, smoothies, soups, and more. Chia seeds are good for people who have nut or wheat allergies too and need to avoid allergens.
Chia seed nutrition is quite high too: it contains almost 5 grams of omega 3 per serving and 178 mg calcium or 18% daily value.
How to use chia seed powder: use about 1-2 tablespoons in gluten-free low carb baked goods as part of the total low carb flour. So for example, if your recipe calls for ½ cup all-purpose flour, you can add in 2 tablespoons chia flour and 6 tablespoons of coconut flour or almond flour for a total of ½ cup keto flour.
The best part about chia seed flour is that you can substitute the amount exactly as it calls for in a recipe. That said, it is going to definitely have a different texture than all-purpose flour, so a blend of chia seed flour with oat fiber flour may be a good mix.
I suggest using 1 part chia for every 2-3 parts of gluten-free all-purpose baking mix.
A good all-purpose gluten-free Paleo flour is King Arthur Paleo flour.
Recipes with chia seed flour to try
Good chia flour brands to try
Whole Chia brands
Sunflower seed meal
Sunflower seed flour is less expensive than chia flour or flax seed flour. You can also easily make your own sunflower using hulled whole sunflower seeds. This will get you the freshest sunflower flour of all.
Using sunflower flour is especially good for people with nut allergies who can’t use almond flour or coconut flour. You can also grind hulled pumpkin seeds and use them just like you would sunflower flour.
Recipes with sunflower seeds to try
Good sunflower seed flour brands to try
You can buy whole sunflower seeds hulled to make your own sunflower flour in most stores or from Terrasoul here.
With only 0.5 grams carb per 2 tablespoon serving, oat fiber is a great choice for wholesome tasting baked goods. For this reason, oat fiber flour ranks as one of the best keto flour types out there. Oat fiber is very filling and satisfying to use in recipes.
If you get gluten-free oat fiber, it is also good for people with gluten intolerance too. Oat fiber is rich in a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which may benefit the immune system and reduce cancer risk.
If you want just a bit of carb, you can also try oat bran, which is super nutritious. Check out low carb oatmeal facts here.
Recipes to try with oat fiber and oat bran
Good oat fiber flour brands to try
- Anthony’s Organic Oat Fiber gluten-free
- Kate Naturals Organic Oat Fiber gluten-free
Oat bran brands to try
Lupin flour is made from lupin beans and is used to make great lupin flour keto biscuits. If you are sensitive to legumes, you may need to pass on this flour. Otherwise, lupin flour is super low in carbs and nutritious.
Be aware that when you mix this flour, it has a strong smell, but the smell disappears as you cook it. Most people like it as well or better than coconut flour in terms of how it tastes and it has a nice texture.
Tip: lupin is related to peanuts and is a legume, so if you are sensitive to legumes like peanuts, it may be best to avoid lupin flour.
Recipes with lupin flour to try
Good lupin brands to try
Xanthan gum is a thickener that helps improve the texture of many gluten-free flour recipes and is made from a fermentation process of wood pulp.
This baking tool is definitely optional when making a keto recipe or gluten-free recipe, as you can use flaxseed flour as a substitute for xanthan gum in any recipe.
Recipes with xanthan gum to try
Xanthan gum brands to try
Vital wheat gluten
I list this as an option, but I definitely DO NOT RECOMMEND this keto flour option for most people due to common gluten intolerances. My body knows that gluten additives will make my belly, skin, and health suffer.
Only use vital wheat gluten if you are sure you tolerate wheat. That said, I’m sure this is a tasty grain option for keto flours.
Most people reading my blog will want to avoid it too, due to autoimmune issues, gut issues, and most people are interested in an autoimmune protocol diet.
Yes, cricket flour is a thing. You didn’t just imagine it. Although not ready for prime time yet, I had to list it because it’s definitely an option for people who are on low carb keto diets.
Some experts argue that eating insects will be part of the solution to food shortages in the future. I hope that the public will warm up to this idea too.
Rich in protein, this type of flour works surprisingly well in recipes like the ones I am including for you here. Unlike all the other types of keto flour, cricket flour is very rich in vitamin B12.
When using cricket flour, I don’t recommend substituting it 1:1 for all-purpose flour. You can mix it with chia seeds or coconut flour, for example. Don’t buy the cricket flour baking mixes because they are primarily all-purpose wheat flour with a sprinkling of cricket in them.
Recipes to try
Cricket flour brands to try
Simple keto swaps that don’t need a specialty flour
Personally, I try to cut carbs by baking less and only using specialty flours when absolutely necessary. Ask yourself if you really need a cookie at all?
Using a lot of any one product could increase your chances of getting a belly ache. For example, a cup of almond flour contains 90 almonds. You would never sit down and eat that many almonds, so why would you want to eat a dessert that does very often?
- Skip the bun at restaurants and at home
- Serve your burger on a salad
- Use cauliflower rice instead of grains
- Add zucchini zoodles or spaghetti squash instead of noodles in pasta dishes
- Serve pizza toppings over sauteed vegetables
The best low carb flour for recipes varies on what you are trying to make, but you can find one that you like with a little experimentation. A blend of chia, coconut, and oat fiber, for example, could be a good place to start when making a muffin.
You can add variety to your diet and cut the carbs by using keto flour in many dishes. Make sure to eat small amounts, especially at first, because of the high fiber content of most of these flour substitutes. Drink plenty of water when you increase your fiber content in your diet too.