If you have celiac disease and are looking for keto gluten-free flour, you’ve come to the right place. However, just because something is gluten-free, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s low-carb or keto-friendly.
Cassava flour is a popular gluten-free option used to make different baked goods. But, if you are following a keto diet, it may have popped into your mind if you are allowed to have it.
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Is cassava flour low carb or keto friendly?
No, cassava flour is not keto-friendly. Half a cup of cassava flour offers 117 g of carbs, above the recommended intake for a strict keto diet (20-50 g). But, if you control the portion size (one tbsp), you may include it without affecting your ketosis levels since it only offers 8 g of net carbs.
As a Registered Dietitian, I know how frustrating it can be not knowing what foods to include on a keto or low-carb diet. And, while cassava flour is not particularly keto, there may be a slight wiggle room for you to include it if you are careful with the portion size.
In this article, we’ll review everything related to cassava flour and a ketogenic diet. In addition, we’ll determine the best low-carb flours and how much cassava flour you can have on the keto diet without affecting your ketosis.
What Is Cassava Flour?
Cassava is a root vegetable found in Africa, Asia, and South America. You can eat cassava root as a whole, or you can make different products, such as flour or chips.
In order to make cassava flour, you need to grind the root of the cassava plant into fine powder. For those looking to eliminate gluten from their diets, cassava can be a good choice since it is gluten-free.
Describing the flavor and texture of cassava flour may be tough. However, some would say it has a nutty flavor and a powdery texture. It makes it the perfect option to make baked goods or use it as a thickening agent.
Nutritional Value of Cassava Flour
To get a better understanding of cassava flour and its role in a keto diet, we need to analyze its nutritional value. According to the USDA, half a cup of cassava flour (142 grams) offers the following nutritional information.
Carbs: 124 grams
Fiber: 6.8 grams
Net carbs: 117.2 grams
Proteins: 1.3 grams
Fats: 0.7 grams
In addition, cassava offers several essential vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, copper, thiamine, folate, vitamin B6, and potassium.
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Understanding Net Carbs and Daily Carb LimitsA keto diet relies on metabolic adaptation. When the body doesn’t get the regular sugar supply, it digs into its fat reserves to provide energy. Hence, ketones are formed, and you go into a ketosis state. Since it’s important to control the carb intake, it’s essential to the importance of net carbs. Net carbs represent the total carbs minus the fiber content (and sugar alcohols). Since the body does not absorb or metabolize either option, you don’t need to count it towards your daily carb intake. So, to calculate net carbs, follow this equation: Net carbs = total grams of carbs - fiber The science behind this is since the body cannot metabolize them (fiber and sugar alcohols), it won’t have an impact on your blood sugar levels and won’t affect your caloric intake. Keep in mind that the total carb intake depends from person to person. Each person has a different carb intake depending on weight, height, age, activity levels, and goals. If you don’t know how many carbs you need, consult a health professional.
Does Cassava Flour Belong In A Keto or Low-Carb Diet?Technically, cassava flour does not belong on a keto diet due to its high carb content. As previously seen, half a cup of cassava flour offers a whopping 117 grams of net carbs. So, for those following a strict keto diet, cassava flour is not suitable since it can make you surpass your carb intake. Now, if you follow a low-carb diet, there may be some wiggle room for you to include cassava flour if you are careful about the other foods you add throughout the day. But, for those keto dieters who simply love cassava flour, there may be a chance for you to add it to your diet without affecting your ketosis or making you struggle with your total grams of carbs for the day. To include it on a keto diet, you may want to lower the portion size. So, instead of having half a cup, you may be able to add one tablespoon of cassava flour on a keto diet. One tablespoon of cassava flour (9.3 grams) has 8.1 grams of carbohydrates, 0.4 grams of fiber, and 7.7 grams of net carbs. So, while cassava flour may not be the best keto-friendly flour, you may be able to use it in small amounts (like a thickening agent). Keep in mind that you may need to make some adjustments to other options throughout the day to avoid having too many carbs.
Overall Health Benefits of Cassava Flour
While cassava flour may not have a role in a keto diet, there are still health benefits of cassava. Here are some of the possible health benefits of cassava.
Contains resistant starch. Resistant starch acts similarly to soluble fiber. As a result, it can reach the digestive tract and act as prebiotics (food for the gut microbiome). Adding foods high in resistant starch can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, improve blood glucose levels, and reduce appetite.
Enhanced immune function. Due to its high vitamin C content, cassava can help reduce inflammation (since it’s an antioxidant), and it can help boost immune function. It can also stimulate collagen production.
High in fiber. While cassava may not be the carb with the highest fiber content, it still offers a decent amount. As a result, it can help improve digestion and bowel movements.
The Bottom Line
Cassava flour can be a good option for those who need a gluten-free alternative. However, if you follow a low-carb or keto diet, you may want to stay away from cassava flour due to its high-carb content. While you may be able to include a smaller portion (one tablespoon), there are other flour alternatives that are lower in carbs, making them a better option.
However, remember that everyone has different carb needs. So, if you are unsure how many carbs you need a day to stay in ketosis, consult with a health professional. Once that is established, it can be easier to determine how much you can have of cassava flour without affecting ketosis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use cassava flour on keto?
No, you may not use cassava flour in large quantities since it’s high in carbs. However, you may be able to include a small portion of cassava flour without affecting your ketosis levels.
What flours are keto-friendly?
Great keto-friendly flour alternatives are chia seed flour, coconut flour, almond flour, flaxseed flour, lupin flour, and konjac flour.
Is cassava flour high in carbs?
Yes, half a cup of cassava flour contains 117 grams of carbs, making it a high-carb option. So, if you follow a keto diet, you may need to have it in moderation of avoid it altogether.