Controlling your carbohydrate intake is the best way to optimize your diabetes control. Eating too many carbs at once can make your blood sugar levels go on a roller coaster, making it more difficult for you to manage your diabetes. Foods made from grains and flours, such as bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, muffins, croissants, pies, pancakes and other baked goods, are a huge source of carbohydrates in the standard American diet. Using flours with a lower carbohydrate content can help you enjoy your favorite foods without compromising your blood sugar levels.
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Coconut flour is made from the coconut meat after most its fat has been extracted to produce coconut oil. Coconut flour has a low carb content and is rich in fiber, in addition to being gluten-free. You will need to modify your recipes to add more liquid as the fiber absorb a lot of water. Each 1/4 cup of coconut flour contains 60 calories, 2.5 g of fat, 6 g of protein, 19 g of carbohydrates and 12 g of fiber. With diabetes, you only need to consider net carbs, which corresponds to the total carbs minus the fiber. Net carbs are the carbs that can raise your blood sugar levels -- fiber cannot. In the case of coconut flour, its net carb content corresponds to 7 g per 1/4-cup serving. In comparison, the same serving of all-purpose wheat flour contains 24 g of carbohydrates and 0.8 g of fiber, or 23.2 g of net carbs; and 1/4 cup of whole-wheat flour has 22 g of carbs and 3.2 g of fiber, or 18.8 g of net carbs.
Another simple way to make a low-carb flour that won't make your blood sugar levels shoot above the desirable range is to use almond meal. You can make your own by grinding almonds until you get a fine flour-like consistency. Don't grind for too long or you will get almond butter. You can use almond meal to make any of your favorite recipes, but remember that because it is free of gluten, it doesn't raise as much. Each 1/4 cup of almond meal contains 5.2 g of carbohydrates and 2.9 g of fiber, which leaves only 2.3 g of net carbs.
You can grind almost any nut to obtain a flour-like consistency and use it to reduce the carb content of your recipes. Walnuts are a good choice, especially as they are high in alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is good for your heart health. Each 1/4 cup of ground walnuts provides 2.7 g of carbs and 1.3 g of fiber, which corresponds to 1.4 g of net carbs. You can also use macadamia nuts, hazelnuts or pistachios. Remember that other ingredients used in your recipes, such as sugar and fruits, may raise the net carb content of your recipe.
Other Ways to Replace Flours
If you need to lower the carb content of some of your non-baked goods recipes, you can use low-carb flour-free alternatives. For example, to replace bread, buns and wraps usually used to make sandwiches and burgers, use a lettuce leaf. You can use grilled eggplant slices to make a low-carb pizza without having to make pizza dough. Instead of making your own pasta or using commercially prepared pasta made with high-carb wheat flour, use spaghetti squash to lower your carb intake.