Caution: Use Almond Flour SparinglyWhy do you ask?1. Almond flour skews perception about quantity and too much can be consumed at once.A cup of almond flour contains about 90 almonds! This was calculated by dividing 640 calories in a cup of almond flour by 7 calories in an almond. Almond flour disguises the consumption of the nuts.2. Almond flour is very high in inflammatory PUFAS About 20% of the fat in almonds is polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega 6 or PUFAs). Unfortunately, our modern diets tend to overburden our bodies with polyunsaturated fats which leads to numerous health issues.Here are a few reasons why it is important NOT to go overboard with polyunsaturated fats.
- PUFAS in suppress mitochondrial energy production. In non-chemistry language, PUFAS slow down the metabolism.
- PUFAS encourage an inflammatory response in the body.
- PUFAS cause digestive issues by impairing the action of certain digestive enzymes.
- PUFAS slow down thyroid function.
- PUFAS inhibit detoxification enzymes.
- PUFAS deplete antioxidants in the body.
- PUFAS inhibit production of progesterone and androgens while activating production of estrogen. This encourages estrogen-dominancy in the body and this contributes to many health issues like weight gain, PMS, hormonal acne and more.
The consumption of almond flour is an easy way to overload the body with a detrimental amount of PUFAS.3. The fats in almond flour aren’t heat stable.
Okay, quick chemistry reminder. Saturated fats have single bonds between all the carbon molecules of the fatty acid chain. Monounsaturated fats have one double bond replacing a single bond in the carbon chain. Polyunsaturated have more than one double bond in the carbon chain.Double bonds are more unstable than single bonds. The more double bonds in a fatty acid, the more unstable it is (polyunsaturated is the least stable, followed by monounsaturated, followed by saturated being the most stable). When the double bonds break, the fatty acid undergoes a process called oxidation.Processing, heat, light and pressure all cause these double bonds to break. Raw (or soaked and dehydrated) almonds have their polyunsaturated fats intact, and so the only fat issues are those discussed in the previous section. But putting almond flour in a hot environment–like an oven–is going to break some of those double bonds and create oxidized fatty acids.Why are oxidized fats bad? In a nutshell, oxidized fats = free radicals. Free radicals = cell damage. Of course, we will inevitably have some free radicals in our body. Fortunately, we can consume sources of antioxidants (like fresh fruits and veggies) to combat free radical damage. But if too much oxidized fats, like from large amounts of almond flour, are consumed, our body is depleted of antioxidants and damage to body cells ensues.Want to know what fats are safe and healthy to heat? Check out this Guide to Choosing and Using Good Fats.4. Almond flour is high in oxalates
Almond flour has a ton of oxalates, which causes issues for people with leaky gut, gut dysbiosis, arthritis and behavioral issues like ADD and ADHD. People with autoimmune issues may want to reduce oxalates also.Almonds (and most other nut and seeds) are very high in oxalates. To make things worse, we can consume huge amounts of almonds/nuts/seeds when they are ground into flour and baked into a treat. As a matter of fact, a cup of almond flour contains 90 almonds! The same point applies to nut butters (a tablespoon of almond butter contains 6 almonds).To read more about oxalates, check out Empowered Sustenance’s article.
What To Do?
Our recommendation: use almond flour sparingly. Because 1 cup of almond flour contains 90 almonds, you shouldn’t consume much almond flour daily. Remember the cardinal rule: EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!Coconut flour is a great alternative and can be used to cook and bake with. Check out recipes HERE.