Coconut Flour

When I made the paleo bread a couple of days ago I happened to read the back of the packet. Two things struck me.

The first was the use by date of the end of June. Annoying since I only bought the stuff last month. Does coconut flour have a short shelf life or did they see me coming?

The second thing was the nutritional composition. In 100g there is 17.4g of protein, 21.7g of carbohydrate and 15.1g of fat i.e. it isn’t low carb. I got to wondering whether this meant that even though it is a paleo food that perhaps it is something that we should be limiting.

According to Loren Cordain, author of “The Paleo Diet” coconut meat (from which the flour is made), oil and milk are all rich in Lauric acid.  Lauric acid is a saturated fat which elevates blood cholesterol but paradoxically indigenous people from the tropics, for whom coconut products are traditional foods, have minimal or non existent incidence of heart disease and stroke. It seems that Lauric acid “exerts  a protective effect on our bodies by eliminating gut bacteria that increase intestinal permeability, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease via heightened  chronic low-level inflammation.“. Cordain concludes that “this food does not present a risk for cardiovascular disease when included as a component of modern Paleo Diets.”. Good news!

Mark’s Daily Apple, of course, has a post on the subject and gives coconut flour the thumbs up. The post also includes recipes for coconut bread, pancakes and coconut encrusted chicken. Another bread recipe to try! The nutritional content for a slice of this bread is 30.9 g fat, 13.2 g carbs (9 g fiber) and 8.35 g protein.

So it seems that coconut foods are good for those of us following paleo or primal diets and that using coconut flour in a recipe does’t necessarily make it high carb – it depends on what else is in the mix.

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