Are you looking for a low-carb alternative to traditional flour?
Teff flour has been gaining popularity in recent years as a nutritious and gluten-free option. But is it truly low carb?
In this article, we’ll explore the nutritional benefits of teff flour and whether it fits into a low-carb diet. From its high protein content to its glycemic index, we’ll break down the facts so you can make an informed decision about incorporating teff flour into your diet.
So, let’s dive in and discover if teff flour is truly low carb!
Is Teff Flour Low Carb?
The answer to whether teff flour is low carb is not a straightforward one. While teff flour is a great source of protein and fiber, it is also high in carbohydrates.
One 1/4 cup serving of teff flour contains 27g of carbohydrates, which is not ideal for those following a low-carb or ketogenic diet. In fact, consuming just a small amount of teff flour can quickly push you over your daily net carb limit, making it unsuitable for those trying to stay in ketosis.
However, it’s important to note that teff flour has a low glycemic index, which means it doesn’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. This makes it a great option for those with diabetes or anyone looking to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Additionally, teff flour is highly nutritious, containing essential amino acids and minerals like iron and calcium. It’s also a good source of resistant starch, which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer periods of time.
What Is Teff Flour?
Teff flour is a gluten-free flour made from the tiny teff grain, which is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea. The grain is ground into a fine flour, which has a mild, earthy flavor and is dark brown in color. Teff flour is a great substitute for traditional wheat flour for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
Teff flour is a nutritional powerhouse, containing essential amino acids, fiber, iron, calcium, and resistant starch. It’s also low in fat and has a low glycemic index, making it a great option for those with diabetes or anyone looking to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Teff flour has a unique texture and flavor that make it a great addition to many baked goods, including quick breads, muffins, pancakes, and cookies. It can also be used as a thickener in soups and sauces, or as a substitute for rice in dishes like pilafs.
While teff flour is high in carbohydrates and may not be suitable for those following a low-carb or ketogenic diet, it’s still a nutritious and delicious option for anyone looking to add more variety to their diet. Just be sure to use it in moderation and balance it with other low-carb ingredients.
Nutritional Benefits Of Teff Flour
Teff flour is a highly nutritious option for those looking to boost their overall health. It is an excellent source of protein, with just 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of teff flour providing 12.2 grams of protein. This makes it a great option for vegetarians and vegans who may struggle to get enough protein in their diets.
Teff flour is also a good source of essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. It is particularly high in lysine, an amino acid that is often lacking in other grains. Lysine plays a crucial role in the production of proteins, hormones, enzymes, collagen, and elastin. It also supports calcium absorption, energy production, and immune function.
In addition to protein and amino acids, teff flour is a rich source of minerals like iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, and selenium. These minerals are essential for healthy bones and tissues, as well as for the proper functioning of various bodily systems like the muscular, nervous, and cardiovascular systems.
Another benefit of teff flour is its high fiber content. Fiber is important for healthy digestion and can help regulate bowel movements. Teff flour contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, which can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, bowel disease, kidney disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Lastly, teff flour is a good source of resistant starches. Resistant starches are a type of carbohydrate that resist digestion in the small intestine and instead ferment in the large intestine. This fermentation process produces short-chain fatty acids that can help improve gut health and reduce inflammation.
Glycemic Index Of Teff Flour
The glycemic index (GI) of teff flour is relatively low compared to many other grains. Whole, cooked teff has a moderate GI of 57, which is likely due to the fact that it’s eaten as a whole grain and contains more fiber. Fiber helps prevent blood sugar spikes by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream.
However, it’s important to note that the GI of teff flour can vary depending on how it’s prepared. Traditional injera made from teff flour has a high GI ranging from 79-99, while teff porridge has a GI ranging from 94-137. This is because water gelatinizes the starch in these preparations, making it quicker to absorb and digest.
Bread made from teff flour has a GI of 74, which is still considered high but lower than bread made from wheat, quinoa, or buckwheat. It’s similar to the GI of oat or sorghum bread. Despite having a lower GI than most grain products, teff flour is still moderate to high GI and should be consumed in moderation by those with diabetes.
Carbohydrate Content Of Teff Flour
Teff flour is a carbohydrate-rich food, containing 27g of carbohydrates per 1/4 cup serving. While this may not make it suitable for those following a low-carb or ketogenic diet, it’s important to consider the quality of the carbohydrates in teff flour.
Teff flour has a low glycemic index, meaning it doesn’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. This makes it a healthier option for those with diabetes or anyone looking to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
It’s also worth noting that teff flour contains fiber, which can help slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and prevent blood sugar spikes. In fact, just 1/4 cup of teff flour contains 4g of fiber.
In addition to being a good source of carbohydrates and fiber, teff flour is highly nutritious. It contains essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein in your body, as well as minerals like iron and calcium. Teff flour is also a good source of resistant starch, which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer periods of time.
How Teff Flour Fits Into A Low-Carb Diet
While teff flour may not be the best option for those following a strict low-carb or ketogenic diet due to its high carbohydrate content, it can still be incorporated in moderation.
For those following a relaxed low-carbohydrate diet, small portions of teff flour can provide a nutrient-dense addition to meals. It’s important to pay attention to portion sizes and to balance teff flour with other low-carb ingredients to stay within daily net carb limits.
Additionally, fermenting teff flour can reduce some of its antinutrients, making it easier for the body to absorb its nutrients. Lacto-fermentation can be done by mixing teff flour with water and leaving it at room temperature for a few days.
Teff Flour Recipes For Low-Carb Dieters
While teff flour may not be suitable for those following a strict low-carb or ketogenic diet, it can still be incorporated into a balanced and healthy diet in moderation. Here are some teff flour recipes that are lower in carbs and can be enjoyed by those on a low-carb or keto diet:
1. Teff Flour Pancakes: Mix together 1 cup of teff flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of sweetener (optional), and 1 cup of almond milk. Add in 2 eggs and mix until well combined. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and spoon batter onto the pan. Cook until bubbles form on the surface, then flip and cook until golden brown.
2. Teff Flour Pizza Crust: In a bowl, combine 2 cups of teff flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add in 1/4 cup of olive oil and 3/4 cup of warm water. Mix until a dough forms, then knead for a few minutes. Roll out the dough into a thin crust and top with your favorite low-carb toppings.
3. Teff Flour Chocolate Cake: Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a bowl, mix together 1 cup of teff flour, 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. In another bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of sweetener (such as erythritol), and 1/2 cup of melted butter or coconut oil. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Pour the batter into a greased cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
While these recipes contain teff flour, they also incorporate other low-carb ingredients like almond milk, olive oil, and sweeteners like erythritol. As with any diet, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your eating habits.