Are Gluten-Free Flours Easy to Digest?

Posted June 17, 2014. There have been 15 comments

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On the Body Ecology Facebook fan page, we recently talked about flour products: 

Flour is never a gut healthy food — gluten free or not. It still feeds Candida and it’s so gummy that it clogs our intestines little by little over the years. Most of us started our early years of life with cereals, sandwiches, cookies, pancakes etc. So enough is enough if you want a healthy gut...

Just because flours are gluten-free does not make them harmless.

Many fans commented, asking about coconut flour and almond flour, which have become quite popular over the last few years.

Anyone with heartburn, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, Candida overgrowth, irregular bowel movements, acne, mood swings, or leaky gut must be extremely observant of their body when eating almond flour, coconut flour, or nut butters.

The biggest problem we see with many gluten-free flour products is that they tend to become a gummy sludge within the intestine. This can clog up the elimination channels and slow movement within the intestine—linking them to constipation, leaky gut, and Candida overgrowth.

Another issue with gluten-free flour products is that many tend to be full of sugar. Please make sure to read labels carefully.

Are Almond and Coconut Flour Difficult to Digest?

gluten free words written  in coconut  flour on a wooden board

Gluten-free flour products still leave a gummy, sticky residue in the gut. These processed flours could be holding you back from full restoration on the Body Ecology Diet.

Almond and coconut flour are not just gummy, they are also dry.

Much of what originally surrounded the pulp (which we call flour) has been stripped away, including the naturally occurring fats found in almonds or coconut meat. Almond flour is also difficult to digest. It, like other flours, can ferment in the digestive tract, leading to discomfort and inflammation.

Coconut flour is high in fiber and absorbs a great deal of moisture. The fiber in coconut flour leaves residue behind for microbes in the intestine to feed on. This can make an infection in the gut worse. It can also inflame the lining of the gut and contribute to constipation. Those with diverticulitis (inflamed pockets of the large intestine) are cautioned to stay away from coconut flour.

Almond Flour and Coconut Flour Are Processed Foods

Like any other flour, both almond flour and coconut flour are processed to the point that they can mimic wheat flour in recipes. While this may seem like you can get away with eating modified versions of your favorite foods, we suggest that you proceed with caution. This processing does no favors for your digestive tract.

As a rule, nuts are difficult to digest. Almonds are no exception. The problem with almond meal or almond flour is that people tend to eat far more than they would if they were nibbling on a handful of almonds as a snack. The same goes for coconut flour.

Almonds in Almond Flour Are NOT Soaked

The thing about all nuts, including almonds, is that they contain anti-nutrients. Phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors are anti-nutrients that make almonds difficult to digest and drain your mineral reserves.

For example, phytic acid binds to iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. Standard processing and heat only minimally reduce levels of phytic acid in almond flour and nut butters.

In order to get rid of anti-nutrients, we suggest that you soak almonds 12- 24 hours, rinsing every 8 hours. If you would like to occasionally enjoy a treat made with almond flour, you can then dehydrate the soaked almonds and grind them into flour.

In a Nutshell…

While almond and coconut flour can be fun substitutes for wheat flour when transitioning from the Standard American Diet, they are not for anyone on the first stage of the Body Ecology Diet.

Just because these flours are gluten-free does not make them harmless.

If you regularly use almond flour, coconut flour, or nut butters and haven’t seen an improvement in your health—this could be the one thing holding you back.

Flours are acidifying and gummy; they can easily inflame the gut. Even after healing your digestive tract and getting rid of Candida overgrowth, we suggest that you only occasionally enjoy foods made from almond flour and coconut flour.

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Coconut flour and almond flour are popular alternatives to gluten-rich flour, but they aren’t so easy on the gut. Those with Candida overgrowth, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, heartburn, acne, or leaky gut must be especially careful of how their body reacts to coconut flour, almond flour, or nut butter.

Gluten-free flours may seem innocent, but they are often full of sugar and become gummy in the intestine. These flours are processed to mimic wheat flour, meaning that they don’t support a healthy inner ecology. What’s more, processed almond flour is not made from soaked almonds. Almonds must be soaked for 12-24 hours before eating to get rid of anti-nutrients that can inhibit digestion and drain mineral reserves.

The bottom line is this: Gluten-free flour alternatives may be enticing, but they are not harmless. These flours are acidifying and gummy. They are not beneficial on the first stage of the Body Ecology Diet.

Post Categories: Candida Digestion Digestive Disorders General Health Getting Started Gluten Sensitivity Leaky Gut

15 Comments

  • I grind flour from whole grains (non-gluten), immediately put them into a sourdough ferment. would this be acceptable and healthy for regular use? I usually make waffles or pizza dough. I don't seem to have gut issues but am 'gluten-free'.

    Posted on Jun 24 at 5:44 pm

  • I get that, but I love bread! Isn't there something I could replace it?

    Posted on Jun 22 at 10:40 am

  • what would be the alternative to these flours or is there an alternative?

    Posted on Jun 20 at 6:56 am

  • Thanks for the info. Once again I am left feeling overwhelmed by eating gluten free. Every time I find an alternative to a wheat based product, it is not long before I read that's not healthy either! Feeling frustrated.

    Posted on Jun 20 at 5:24 am

  • I was wondering if I soaked Almonds then dehydrate them to grind up into a flour, will that make a difference. I dont buy Almond flour, but I do like a few recipes which use almond meal (?) and I normally just grind them up in my thermomix. So should I be soaking them first? Thanks

    Posted on Jun 19 at 9:26 pm

  • I have been reading about cross reactive foods and all of the BED grains are on it. Can Donna comment on why she hasn't written about this? There is alot about it online these days and the best explanation I have seen comes from Dr. Peter Osbourne who noted in a recent report:

    "The protein gluten is a generic term. It loosely refers to the family of storage proteins found in grains. A
    specific type of gluten, gliadin, was originally discovered in 1952. Before we knew what caused celiac
    disease, a doctor in Holland, William Dicke, discovered that during World War II his patients with celiac
    disease recovered when they could not get access to wheat, barley, rye, and oats. Based on Dr. Dicke’s
    findings, a group of doctors isolated one particular type of gluten called gliadin. It was this protein that
    was originally blamed for celiac disease.
    Since 1952, scientists have discovered thousands of different types of gluten proteins. Most recently,
    400 new gluten proteins were discovered by a group of doctors in Australia. These new gluten proteins
    were found to be more toxic that the original gluten protein, gliadin. Additionally, a number of medical
    studies have found that the glutens in corn and rice can also be detrimental. Unfortunately, these
    studies have been largely ignored.
    Because of all of the confusion, a new term has been created to help people understand how to identify
    gluten in foods more accurately. TRUE gluten free is that term. TRUE gluten free means that a food is
    completely devoid of grain. This differs from the traditional gluten free term that is only inclusive of
    wheat, barley, and rye. This new term was also created because new research shows that patients who
    eat a traditional gluten free diet fail to fully heal.
    The following is a comprehensive list of TRUE gluten free foods and will help you get started on the right
    track:
    The Following Foods Contain Gluten & Should Definitely Be Avoided:
    o Amaranth ***
    o Barley [malt]
    o Buckwheat ***
    o Corn [maize] * GO HERE for a
    list of hidden corn ingredients.
    o Durum [semolina]
    o Einkorn
    o Emmer
    o Graham
    o Groat
    o Millet *
    o Oats
    o Quinoa ***
    o Rice * [does not include wild rice
    varieties but does include brown
    rice]
    o Rye
    o Sorghum *
    o Spelt
    o Teff *
    o Triticale
    o Wheat
    * These grains are classically considered gluten free, but are not recommended on a TRUE gluten free
    diet.

    Posted on Jun 19 at 4:35 pm

  • Bless you for this info - very appreciated

    Posted on Jun 19 at 3:39 pm

  • Also, can't grains be fermented to make them better?

    Posted on Jun 19 at 1:47 pm

  • Thank you for this post. I was sparingly using coconut flour but wont look to use it or other flour alternatives anymore.

    One warning for those choosing Tapioca Flour. I was trying to use a less expensive alternative to almond flour for my fried eggplant slices when I opted to try Tapioca Flour. After only a few bites of trace amounts of this flour I began to break out in hives, had numbness, nausea, breathing fast, dizziness etc. If I hadn't immediately stopped eating and taken an allergy tablet I would have ended up in the ER. I've never had a reaction to a food item like that before. Apparently it is made with Casava Root and not the Tapioca Pearls I may have been used to and ok with. Just be aware.

    Posted on Jun 19 at 1:10 pm

  • What about organic, non-gm, heirloom *Einkorn Wheat Flour?
    (Einkorn goes way back, and was found in the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs.)
    (I think Tropical Traditions sells it.)

    Posted on Jun 19 at 12:45 pm

  • Ah, this makes so much sense, and explains why these flours and also nut butters just don't work for me. I really needed to read this article at this time, thank you so much!

    Posted on Jun 19 at 12:34 pm

  • Thank you for this. Very helpful, because I've noticed problems after eating these flours, and this now makes sense.

    Posted on Jun 19 at 11:46 am

  • I couldn't agree more now that I eat mostly Paleo and only occasionally eat things with rice flour I feel much better I also find nut butters hard to digest.

    Posted on Jun 19 at 8:56 am

  • WOW! This is amazing information. Explains and confirms what I instinctively sensed about glutwn-free flours. I have two packages in my kitchen cupboard I have been meaning to experimemt with. Something told me not to bother. Thank you for sharing this information (along with all your other articles).

    Posted on Jun 19 at 5:55 am

  • I read your article regarding almond and coconut flour. You nix these products and yet do not touch on the effects of Wheat flour , which is more harmful to the body. Wheat , as this generation knows it, was NEVER tested on humans much less animals. NO TESTING DONE. They created shorter wheat with ability to grow in mass quantities.
    Wheat flour is a culprit that is now in most everything we eat. If you don't believe me start reading labels.....and KNOW the terms you are reading...they are sneaky by substituting 'fancy' words to describe ingredients.
    I have been using Rice Flour to bake breads/delicacies for quite some time with no complications.
    I also use Coconut and Almond Flour from time to time.
    Using these products is not for everyone. Usually one begins the Gluten Free diet because of a medical condition.
    Constipation can certainly occur in any individual due to various reasons. (Lack of drinking enough water can cause constipation.) A person must be aware of his/her own body.

    Posted on Jun 19 at 5:45 am

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