If you’re venturing on a ketogenic diet or even if you’ve been low-carb for a while, you might be wondering about the nutrition facts and benefits of coconut flour.
Coconut flour shows up in tons of keto recipes, but is it actually good for you? Is it even low-carb? Turns out that coconut flour is almost too good to be true — high in dietary fiber, healthy fats, and protein, plus low in sugar and calories.
Get all the details on coconut flour, the nutrition benefits of this gluten-free, grain-free ingredient, and learn exactly how to use it.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What Is Coconut Flour?
- The Health Benefits of Coconut Flour
- Baking With Coconut Flour on Keto
- Coconut Flour vs. Almond Flour
- Is Coconut Flour Keto Friendly?
Coconut flour is a byproduct of the coconut milk-making process. Once manufacturers separate out the creamy coconut milk, they’re left with coconut pulp. The pulp is then dried and ground into a soft powder.
And since coconut flour is made from coconut — and nothing else — it contains a lot of the same health benefits.
There’s a reason coconut flour is popular with keto, Paleo, and gluten-free enthusiasts. It’s the ideal flour alternative for people with food sensitivities and digestive issues like leaky gut or gut dysbiosis. It’s also a creamy, nutrient-dense alternative to nut and dairy products for those who suffer from sensitivities.
It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, low in calories, high in fiber, and versatile when it comes to cooking and baking. But what are the health benefits of coconut flour?
Coconut Flour Nutrition
One-quarter cup of coconut flour contains:
- Calories: 120
- Total fat: 4g
- Total carbs: 16g
- Fiber: 10g
- Net carbs: 6g
- Protein: 4g
Coconut flour also contains key vitamins and minerals like manganese, calcium, and selenium.
Micronutrients are important, but the real star of the show when it comes to coconut fiber is its high-fiber, low carbohydrate content. Let’s dig into how this can benefit your health.
#1 May Help Digestive Health
Fiber is an important component of a keto diet. Both soluble and insoluble fibers help keep your digestive system moving, soften and bulk up your stools, and contribute to a diverse gut microbiome[*].
#2 May Help Keep You Slim
That high fiber content is also related to keeping you slim over time[*] Protein and healthy fats in coconut flour also help keep you feeling fuller longer. That means fewer cravings and less overeating.
#3 Helps Balance Your Blood Sugar
Refined high-carb flours can spike your blood glucose and insulin levels, which, over time, can increase harmful free radicals and systemic inflammation.
High fiber, low-carb flours, on the other hand, keep your blood sugar levels low[*]. And fewer spikes in blood sugar mean a healthier metabolism and less inflammation over time.
#4 More Energy From Healthy Fats
Coconut flour is also rich with healthy fats — mostly from medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTS.
MCTs are great for quick, easy energy because they bypass your normal digestive process and convert to energy quickly.
There are four different types of MCTs found in food:
- Caproic acid
- Caprylic acid
- Capric acid
- Lauric acid
The most abundant acid found in coconut products is usually lauric acid, making up 77% of the MCTs found in coconut oil[*]. Lauric acid is what makes coconut a powerful antiviral and antifungal, with the ability to kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi[*].
Fats from coconuts can also:
- May help with weight loss[*]
- Reduce hunger[*]
- Raise “good” HDL cholesterol[*]
- Improve brain function (specifically in people with age-related brain degeneration)[*]
Remember, fiber is a carbohydrate. So, compared to other grain-free flours, coconut flour may look like it’s high in carbs at first glance.
However, because of its high fiber content, it ends up being lower in total net carbs.
You also might find that most recipes don’t ask for a whole lot of coconut flour — a little goes a long way.
Coconut Flour Is Not a 1:1 Substitute for White Flour
A quarter cup of coconut flour contains roughly 6 grams of net carbs. Again, this might sound high, but a quarter cup coconut flour might be all a given recipe contains. For example, if you bake an entire batch of cookies and only use a 1/4 cup of coconut flour, each cookie will contain just 0.5 grams of net carbs — not bad for something that satisfies your sweet tooth.
As long as you’re learning about keto baking, here are a few other tips you should keep in mind:
- Don’t use it as a direct substitute for white flour: This is the number one mistake most people make when experimenting with keto baking. White flour and coconut flour are completely different ingredients.
- Use a lot of eggs: Coconut flour is an incredibly dense ingredient due to its high-fat content. To make the fluffy, tasty treats you’re used to; you may need more eggs to balance out the batter. Don’t be alarmed if a recipe calls for 4–6 eggs.
- Use a hybrid of flours: As a general rule, recipes that call for two types of flours are usually the best. By using a combination of almond flour and coconut flour, you will find the texture to be most similar to a “regular” baked good.
Other Ways to Cook With Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is more versatile than you might think. You can use coconut flour for virtually anything you previously used white flour for, and it won’t necessarily taste like coconut.
Use coconut flour as a high-protein, low carb option for:
- Breaded chicken fingers and other meat
- Grain-free pizza crust
- Low-carb bread
- To bind keto meatballs or meatloaf
- Thicken soups and stews
- Coconut-flour sandwich wraps
- To add bulk to burgers
Of the grain-free alternative flours available, almond flour and coconut flour are probably the most well-known.
Here’s how the two measure up against one another:
- Almond flour has fewer net carbs: A 1/4 cup serving of almond meal contains 160 calories, 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, and 3 grams of net carbs. This means it contains more fat, protein, and total calories than coconut flour, but fewer net carbs.
- Coconut flour is nut free: For those with tree nut allergies, coconut flour is surely the better option. While it’s certainly possible to be allergic to coconut, nuts and tree nuts are ranked within the top seven most common allergies on the planet, and coconuts don’t fall in that category.
- Almond flour contains more omega-3 fatty acids, but coconut has more MCTs: Both coconut and almond flour contain healthy fats and both are great for your energy levels and brain health — they’re just different kinds.
We can’t definitively say that coconut or almond flour is better or worse for you. Both have advantages and disadvantages — it simply depends on what you’re looking for.
Plus, many keto recipes include a mixture of both flours.
Coconut flour is a great substitute for regular white or wheat flour when it comes to low-carb baking. It’s also a great alternative to nut flours for those who are allergic or other gluten-free flours that tend to have a higher carb count.
There are plenty of coconut flour recipes that can be baked, cooked, and enjoyed on this website. Let us know which recipes you’ve tried in the comments!