Ever since the gluten-free diet has become popular the different types of flours have become more and more abundant. I want to first tell you that the gluten-free diet is not proven to help specifically with weight loss; it is to help those with Celiac disease manage their disease state. Following the diet has become popular because some people have experienced weight loss. However, gluten-free related weight loss is most likely a result of a very restrictive diet and no longer eating high-calorie junk foods. If you like or prefer gluten-free products that is ok! I wanted to share with you some gluten-free alternative flours that provide extra protein and/or fiber.
Millet: Millet flour is a good substitute for wheat flour and has high protein, high fiber and non-starchy polysaccharides - which are good for controlling blood sugars. Millet also has a high antioxidant content. Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative stress which, for example, can be seen in wounds and inflammation. One of the many ways you can use millet flour is in baking. Because it has a very similar protein structure to wheat flour, millet flour can be used as a direct 1:1 substitute. However, when you are baking it’s better to use millet flour in a mixture of other gluten-free flours for breads and muffins for proper texture.
Chickpea: Chickpea flour is another good substitute for wheat flour. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, low on the glycemic index & lower in carbohydrates than wheat flour. Chickpea flour is a good source of fiber and higher in protein than other flours. Chickpea flour can be used for bread-making, sweet or savory baking, and mixed with other gluten-free flours will help the baked goods more resemble the same texture as wheat-based baked goods.
Oat: Oat flour is one of the wheat-alternative flours that you can make yourself with a food processor or high-powered blender! It’s also available in stores. Oat flour contains soluble fiber (beta-glucan) and can help decrease LDL cholesterol, control blood sugars and insulin levels, and is a good source of protein, magnesium, phosphorus, B Vitamins, and antioxidants. If you can’t eat gluten make sure to find products that are certified gluten-free. Oat flour can be used for making pancakes, muffins and other baked goods, and when mixed with other gluten-free flours it’s optimal for baking to better resemble wheat-based baked goods.
Rice: Rice flour is another great gluten-free alternative. It is high in protein and brown rice flour specifically contains higher levels of B Vitamins. The difference between white rice flour and brown rice flour is the same difference between brown rice and white rice – the brown rice contains the outer shell of the grain where there is greater vitamin, mineral, and fiber content. During processing, the outer shell of the grain is removed when making white rice. Rice flour can be used to make mochi, appams, rice noodles, as a thickening agent in soups, and can be used as a wheat-alternative flour in baking cakes and biscuits. In baking, it is best to mix it with other gluten-free flours to achieve a better texture of the product.
Buckwheat: Buckwheat flour is in fact gluten-free even though it has the word “wheat” in the name. It is a good source of fiber, protein, and micronutrients like manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, and phosphorus. Buckwheat flour can be used in making crepes, baking desserts and breads. It can be used on its own or in a gluten-free flour blend.
The Bottom Line
If you like using gluten-free products as a preference then keep using them! There are so many grains that are gluten-free. More and more products are being introduced that are gluten-free for those that have Celiac disease or prefer to have a touch extra protein in their pasta. Remember, if you do not have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance and are following a gluten-free diet for weight loss, I do not recommend this.
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