Over the past decade, our cupboards, diets, and lives have been overturned by the vast array of options springing up the market. These days flour doesn’t just come in all-purpose and self-rising. From buckwheat to quinoa flour, many types of flour claim that they are better for your wellbeing and your waist when compared to traditional white flour. So what is the healthiest flour out there, and what is the best flour for weight loss?
Today we’re all about flour power, so read on, here are our 7 Best Healthy Flours for Weight Loss!
Why Use Flour for Weight Loss?
Flour isn’t the most popular diet ingredient, but flour can actually make an amazing addition to your diet, even beyond baking! You can transform dishes with just a tablespoon of flour. Why not try:
- Using flour to thicken soups and stews
- To give baked veggies an extra crunch
- As part of a healthy fruit crumble topping
- When making roti or healthy pancakes
Which Flour is Good for Weight Loss?
So which flour is the best? If you’ve ever tried following a friend or celebrity’s tip for losing weight, you may have noticed that foods affect people differently. Similarly, different flours will complement different diets and bodies and it can be hard to define which is the best flour for your weight loss journey. For example, a low carbohydrate, high-fat flour such as almond flour will probably work best for those following the keto diet. On the other hand, traditional wheat flour generally has the lowest calorie content.
Different flours will also work better in different recipes, which is why we’ve brought together 7 of the best. Whatever flour you choose, we always recommend selecting organic, unbleached flour and consuming it as part of a balanced diet.
Whole Wheat Flour
- Calories per cup: 408
- Protein: 16g
- Carbs: 86g
- Fat: 3g
Good old-fashioned whole wheat flour has gotten a pretty bad rep over the last few years. Which if you think about it is strange – it’s been one of our staples for years. Its low-fat content (3g per cup) actually means that wheat flour is relatively low calorie-wise, especially compared to nut-based flours like almond flour and hazelnut flour.
Unfortunately, it is not very filling, and as we all know it’s pretty easy to wolf back a loaf of bread, packet of cookies, or tray of cupcakes made with white flour! It’s also pretty nutrient sparse, although whole-grain wheat flour does have its added benefits. Also important to note is that wheat flour is high in gluten. Gluten intolerance or sensitivity can leave you feeling sick, bloated, or tired. This brings us on to…
- Calories per cup: 400
- Protein: 12g
- Carbs: 88g
- Fat: 4g
Gluten-free flour blends vary in their exact composition, although they usually contain a mix of rice flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, and cornstarch. These blends are great for the home cook who is looking to avoid gluten – and save a few calories. With 400 calories per cup, it’s one of the lowest-calorie flours available. Try using gluten-free flour to try making some roti or flatbread. Flatbread makes a great complement to any healthy eating plan and using gluten-free flour blends will ensure you don’t eat up all your calories too quickly!
- Calories per 1/4 cup: 163
- Protein: 6.1g
- Carbs: 5.6g
- Fat: 14.2g (9g monounsaturated)
Flour made from finely crushed almonds has some pretty good nutritional qualities. It’s high in protein, low on carbs and it’s keto-friendly too! But that doesn’t make almond flour the lowest in calories. Nuts, although super healthy and packed full of essential vitamins and oils are notoriously high in calories. But don’t let that put you off! You can still use almond flour for weight loss. This light powder makes delicious low-carb treats that will keep you satisfied for much, much longer than traditional whole wheat flour. This also means you are much less likely to, shall we say, overindulge?
If you want to try using almond flour for weight loss in your next baking adventure, we recommend making some healthy pancakes. Simply mix mashed banana, 2 beaten eggs, and 1/4 cup of almond flour. Then, cook as you would a regular pancake in a non-stick pan. Voila! A healthy, delicious treat the whole family will go nuts (or bananas) for!
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 242
- Protein: 9g
- Carbs: 39g
- Fat: 5.5g
This ancient seed is a growing favorite among dieticians and bakers alike. Slightly sweet and slightly nutty, Amaranth flour has none of the gluten found in whole wheat flour, making it a great option for those with an intolerance to gluten. It also has over twice as much dietary fiber compared to whole wheat flour! Amaranth flour is a strong source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and other essential minerals. While its calories are comparable to whole wheat flour, its high concentration of protein and nutrients make Amaranth flour a much better flour for weight loss.
Sadly Amaranth flour is still a specialty item, and it can be a little difficult to find. Try looking in your local health food store under the “paleo diet” section.
- Calories per cup: 356
- Protein: 21g
- Carbs: 53g
- Fat: 6g
Also known as gram flour, this rich, yellow flour is made by grinding dry chickpeas into a fine powder. It’s got double the fiber and protein of regular wheat flour, so chickpea flour is great for filling up rumbling tummies. It’s also got fewer calories than regular flour, and won’t affect your blood sugar the way white flour does. This makes it a far superior option for those with diabetes or anyone looking to lose weight. On the other hand, chickpea flour makes a poor substitute when it comes to baking. We recommend using this flour to thicken healthy soups or low-calorie dips as opposed to a substitute for all-purpose flour.
Chickpea flour can also be used to make a vegan egg substitute when mixed with water or soy milk. Try adding to sauteed onions and mushrooms for a surprisingly delicious vegan scrambled egg breakfast!
- Calories per cup: 553.5
- Protein: 20.1g
- Carbs: 90g
- Fat: 12.5g
Oat flour is made by grinding oats into a fine powder. Oats are one of the healthiest grains out there – and are packed full of essential vitamins, minerals, macro, and micronutrients. They are also an incredibly rich source of manganese and magnesium, making them particularly great for people with high blood pressure. Oat flour is relatively cheap and easily available, which makes it a convenient choice. Unfortunately, even though it’s packed full of vitamins and protein, it’s also packed full of carbohydrates and calories, which doesn’t necessarily make it a fantastic diet flour for weight loss. On the other hand, when consumed in moderation, it is incredibly filling.
Try using baked goods instead of all-purpose flour. It also makes a great and satisfying oatmeal-style porridge when mixed with water or low-fat milk.
- Calories per cup: 480
- Protein: 24g
- Carbs: 72g
- Fat: 16g
This flour is made by grinding dried coconut meat. Coconut flour is a gluten-free alternative to regular wheat-based flours but is still pretty carb and calorie-heavy. It doesn’t substitute very easily for regular flour and can be difficult to use in baking. That being said, coconut flour is super high in soluble and insoluble fiber. This will help keep you feeling full and satisfied, and makes it a great choice for anyone with digestive problems.
Which Flour Is Best for Weight Loss?
So when it comes down to it, which is the best flour for you? Well, that depends on what you are looking for. Whether your diet is low carb, low calorie, or you just want something to fill you up and stop you snacking there’s flour out there for you. Try experimenting yourself, get creative, and see how you can use flour for weight loss too!
You can follow our other articles which contain great tips for weight loss and living well.
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Rosily Ryan is an experienced health and fitness writer, editor, and health activist in Sydney, Australia. She’s written for several publications like Pure Green Magazine.