Coconut flour is becoming a popular alternative to plain flour due to its lower glycemic index and superior ability to control blood sugar – but is coconut flour low FODMAP?
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols – in a nutshell, these are short-chain carbohydrates that are believed to negatively contribute to the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) due to the fact that they are difficult for the small intestine to absorb.
A FODMAP diet is only to be started on instruction from a medical professional, for example after being diagnosed with IBS or a similar condition.
So is coconut flour low FODMAP?
While coconut flour is gluten-free, it is in fact a high-FODMAP food.
As coconut flour is considered high FODMAP, it would be unsuitable for those with IBS or diets where people find it difficult to digest high carbohydrate food items.
Keep reading to learn more about coconut flour as a FODMAP, as well as how it can be used in different recipes and within different diets.
How coconut flour is made
Coconut flour is essentially finely ground and dried coconut meat. It’s a by-product of coconut milk – once the milk has been removed from the coconut the rest of the meat is dried under high temperatures and then ground down to create flour. Coconut flour is fantastic in ensuring the whole coconut is used and none of it is wasted.
As it is made from coconut, coconut flour does have a slight coconut taste – but this is not overpowering and won’t add significant taste to a recipe. The majority of coconut flavoring lies within the milk and fat of a coconut, which is removed when creating coconut flour.
For more insights on coconut flour including benefits and uses, check out the Coconut Mama blog.
Baking with coconut flour
Coconut flour is a popular ingredient in modern baking. It’s a highly versatile product and is very absorbent due to its high levels of fiber.
As coconut flour is more absorbent than all-purpose flour, different quantities will be required in order to achieve similar effects. Recipes containing coconut flour are also more likely to use wet products such as eggs or milk, to counter the dryness that coconut flour can bring to a recipe.
Coconut flour has a substitution ratio of 1:4, which means you’ll only need around a quarter of the flour you would typically need with ordinary plain flour. However, as mentioned above, you’d need to add extra eggs as a binding agent due to the dryness of coconut flour.
We’ve included below some stats showing a comparison between coconut flour and all-purpose flour, including a substitution ratio.
|Coconut Flour||All-Purpose Flour|
|Best for baking||Cakes, cookies, pie crusts, muffins, and dense breads (especially pumpkin bread!)||non-yeast recipes (cookies, biscuits, some breads)|
These stats help us further understand why coconut flour is used as a diet flour alternative to all-purpose flour. Coconut flour is the lower of the two in terms of carbohydrates with 18g vs 23g in all-purpose flour, and the glycemic index of coconut flour is much lower at 45, in comparison with all-purpose. flour’s glycemic index of 85. Both of these nutritional details make coconut flour a healthier option than ordinary flour.
Coconut flour is compatible with other non-grain flour such as almond flour and is fairly gritty in texture – we recommend sifting it before use to give it a smoother, softer texture. It is best used in cakes, cookies and pie crusts (amongst others), while all purpose flour is better suited to non-yeast recipes.
For our blog for more information on all types of flour!
Diets That Suit Coconut Flour
As coconut flour is a high FODMAP product, it’s not recommended for diets that require low carbohydrate levels or if you have digestive issues such as IBS. However, coconut flour is suitable for some diets and can in fact provide certain benefits.
Coconut flour is grain-free, making it a great option for diets such as the paleo diet. It’s also gluten-free, making it suitable for those with coeliac disease. If you’re trying out a keto diet, you’ll be pleased to know that coconut flour is keto-friendly, providing it’s used in small amounts.
It is also believed to help control blood sugar levels, so can be useful for those with conditions such as diabetes, as coconut flour will have a very mild impact on blood glucose levels. This is also helped with a low glycemic index and carb amount.
Baking with the best coconut flour
In my experience, the right baking ingredients are critical for getting the best possible bake – when it comes to coconut flour, it’s important to check the label to make sure you’re getting good-quality stuff. We recommend organic and single-ingredient – just coconuts – no preservatives, additives, or other chemicals. To help, we’ve put together a list of the very best coconut flours you can buy.
Here are some quick-fire, frequently asked questions that will help you learn more about coconut flour as a FODMAP!
Coconut flour is unfortunately not suitable for those with IBS. It is a high FODMAP product and contains significant levels of insoluble fiber, which could greatly worsen IBS symptoms.
Low FODMAP flours that would be better for those with IBS include almond meal, buckwheat flour, and apple flour. Check out our blog for a comparison of coconut flour vs apple flour!
We recommend discussing quantities with your physician before attempting any recipes containing these flours to avoid any adverse effects.
Coconut flour has a lower glycemic index than plain flour, making it the potentially healthier alternative. It contains higher levels of protein and fiber than plain wheat flour, which can make it helpful in achieving weight loss and controlling blood sugar levels.
Coconut flour is a natural anti-inflammatory, as it contains significant levels of lauric acid which is beneficial for those with inflammatory conditions. However, coconut flour contains a high amount of fiber which can contribute to bloating for some people, so it is best used in moderation. As always, consult with a medical professional if you have questions.
As coconut flour contains a lot of fiber it can be hard on the stomach. For example, those with sensitive stomachs may find that it can cause bloating if consumed in large quantities. However, when used in moderation it should be easier on the stomach and could even provide some anti-inflammatory benefits.
Coconut flour is a good prebiotic due to the amount of fiber it contains. The level of fiber in coconut flour acts as a prebiotic which enables good bacteria in the gut to thrive and ultimately improve digestion.
This can be very beneficial in aiding and preventing constipation, as well as promoting the growth of healthy bacteria.
As coconut is gluten-free, coconut flour is therefore a naturally gluten-free product. It is therefore generally suitable for those that struggle to digest gluten, such as people suffering from coeliac disease. We recommend consulting with your doctor/physician before trying any new food items if you are a person with coeliac disease/related conditions.