#banting #NSNG #LCHF #healthyeating #weightloss

Taken from:
101 Banting Pointers by Martie Nel

An overview of how Banting works and valuable information for new banters, you cannot get to your destination if you do not know the plan!!!

1. This is not a “diet” on which you go on and come off after weightloss. It’s not a quick fix diet. Eating the ‘Banting’ way which means a Low Carb High Fat diet is a lifestyle. It becomes the new normal way of eating for you.

2. Banting is not for everyone. If you are not carbohydrate intolerant, you probably won’t lose weight. If you have always been lean and metabolised carbohydrates well, you may not benefit from changing to LCHF.

3. One of the signs of being carbohydrate intolerant include getting drowsy after eating food containing carbs or sugar – usually about 2 hours after eating. Most times this occurs after lunch – in the middle of the afternoon.

4. If you are sensitive to carbohydrates, you will most probably gain weight around your waist and not your hips and thighs.

5. If your weight goes up and down a lot, you most probably will benefit from changing your diet to a LCHF way of life.

6. Carbohydrates are addictive, so if you are carb intolerant you will find yourself reaching for them more and more, even though you are no longer hungry.

7. If you are a habitual snacker or emotional eater, you probably are sensitive to carbs and should follow the Banting way.

8. If obesity and weight gain around the waist run is something that your parents or grandparents struggled with, you most probably will struggle with it too. A lifestyle of low carbs will benefit you.

9. What’s your favourite food? If the answer is cake or carbs, you most probably are addicted and could be carbohydrate intolerant.

10. If there is diabetes in your family, you are at high risk for being insulin resistant and need to cut back on sugar and starch.

11. Premenstrual tension improves when you cut out carbs and sugar.

12. Starting the day by drinking two glasses of water on an empty stomach can help in weight loss and helps prevent constipation.

13. Eating a LCHF diet is not permission to eat as much as you want. You still need to employ some calorie counting, appetite control.

14. Before eating, think about exactly how you are feeling. The process of eating actually starts in the mind. Ask yourself if you are hungry, thirsty, bored, emotional. Eat when you when you are hungry – stop when you are full.

15. The core principle of Banting is eating real food. These foods are foods that satisfy and they are the ones you want to focus on.

16. Probably, the most beneficial food to add to your diet is one that contains all the nutrients, enzymes and protein to create a living creature – that’s a simple chicken egg. It’s a power packed high protein food bomb designed to enhance your health.

17. Eating foods that are high in protein and fat are the answer to hunger satisfaction.

18. When you fill up on carbohydrates such as bread, cereal and refined sugar laden pastries, you may feel full but that soon wears off and you can find yourself snacking all – day – long.

19. Make sure you start your day with high protein and high fat foods. These include eggs, bacon, sausage, berries, full cream, double thick natural Greek yoghurt, avocado.

20. Leave off the menu overt carbs such as rice, potatoes, pasta & bread.

21. Replace sweet dessert with strawberries and cream.

22. One of the biggest challenges to controlling appetite is food cupboards & fridges stocked with tempting treats, guaranteed to ambush any attempt at resistance. If it’s there, you will eat it.

23. Get rid of the high carb, high sugar items in your home – biscuits, rusks, ice cream, sweets, cake, chocolate bars. Don’t buy the stuff in the first place.

24. Don’t go shopping when you are hungry – that also leads to temptation of buying a quick snack to curb your hunger pangs.

25. Replace the carbs in your home with options you can eat – salad ingredients, cheese, olives, raw nuts, biltong sticks, berries, cream.

26. Continually be aware that you must eat when you are hungry, and not when you are bored, stressed, thirsty or tired.

27. Keep Occupied. If you are busy with a project that takes up time, energy and interest, you’ll find food suddenly takes a secondary place in your life.

28. Instead of constantly thinking about food, you’ll start thinking about something else. Find your passion and start working on it. It may be people, or music, or writing or it may even be food!

29. If food is your passion, start researching the healthy foods that will enhance your life and not make you sluggish.

30. If you find yourself bored and needing something to do to prevent yourself from eating for the sake of having nothing else to do, go for a walk, do a puzzle, read a book, visit a friend.

31. Stay Hydrated. Replace fizzy drinks & alcohol with water. You don’t need to drink soda to be refreshed.

32. Carry a bottle of water with you and drink to thirst. If you have water handy, you won’t be tempted to eat if it’s fluid you need. Some say to drink a glass of water before eating also helps prevent overeating at a meal.

33. If you are carbohydrate intolerant, make sure you also cut back on fruit, as it is a primary source of sugar. Limit yourself to one serving a day, preferably strawberries.

34. Fish is a great Banting food and it suits non-Banters too. Tuna, salmon, hake, haddock, yellowtail, sardines – all great protein foods that will satisfy you and keep your blood sugar levels stable.

35. Avoid: bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, cous cous – no overt carbs at all eg cake, pizza, rusks, muffins, etc! No peanuts.

36. There are nuts you can eat: macadamia, almonds, cashew (avoid salted and roasted), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseed soil (Prof Tim says it really helps with raised blood pressure).

37. All vegetables grown above the ground are Banting friendly, specially leafy greens, like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.

38. Gem squash, baby marrows are good as well as lots of salad laden with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, carrots, mushrooms.

39. When it comes to dairy, aim for high fat products. Full cream (double if you like) Greek (unsweetened, unflavoured) yoghurt. Once you are off sugar, you will love it. Cream! I put cream on my breakfast and in my coffee. It’s great. Full cream milk. Cheese, Eggs. Butter (ditch margarine – more about that later).

40. However, too much dairy may hinder weight loss, so find a balance with how much you eat.

41. LCHF eating has got to become a way of life. By eating LCHF, you may find you lose weight quickly, which if you need to, is great, but for your health, you should view it as a marathon and not a sprint.

42. Some people are thrilled at the idea that they can have seemingly unlimited fat, but don’t be misled by what that means. To start with, it doesn’t mean you can eat anything that you think is ‘fattening.’ Cake is fattening. You have to learn the difference between fat and carbohydrates.

43. Carbohydrates (including sugar) are found in almost everything we eat. They are there in differing amounts. Some are high in carbs – others low. Learn to read the labels on the food you buy.

44. Most ‘health’ products that come in tins for making up of meal substitute ‘shakes’ are high in carbohydrate.

45. Most weight loss programmes that include “low fat” anything, are high in carbohydrate.

46. All ‘low fat’ products in the store fridges or on the shelves are high in carbohydrate. Avoid them!

47. Carbohydrate makes you fat! Fat doesn’t.

48. The basic principle is that when you eat a stack of carbs, your body uses those carbs for energy and stores the fat you eat…. where does it store it? Around your waist! The ‘beer belly’, the ‘big gut’ – that’s where the fat is stored.

49. To get rid of that fat, stop eating carbohydrates. Eat more good fat in your diet, so the body uses the fat for energy.

50. Almost all food contains some carbs, so that’s why this lifestyle is LOW CARB, because you cannot get away from eating some carbs.

51. When it comes to oils, watch what you buy. Olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil are the ones you want.

52. Sunflower oil is out!

53. Fry food using butter. Olive oil undergoes an unhealthy change when heated beyond a certain temperature. Dump margarine altogether. Butter is better.

54. There are enough foods in the LCHF/Banting shopping basket to keep you satisfied. One of the great things about LCHF is you don’t go hungry. The onus is on you to do the research.

55. When you pick something up in the supermarket that is packaged, read the label to see how much carbohydrate it contains per 100g. You’re aiming for food stuff that contains less than 7g/100g. The less the better.

56. The average person is aiming for about 50g of carbs per day. If you are diabetic, maybe even less.

57. If you find you have reduced carbs to 50g per day and you are sluggish and lacking energy, clearly you need more! On the converse, if you find you are eating 50g carbs per day and not losing weight, clearly you need less. What works for others, may not work for you.

58. Eating the Banting way is essential for diabetics and that’s been proven by a Swedish study. Another study says that eating low carb diet is best for treating both type 1 and type 2 diabetics.

59. Artificial sweetner is no encouraged in this lifestyle. It is believed that non-caloric sweeteners still contribute to increasing hunger and result in a continued craving for sweet food.

60. What is surprising is that the pancreas starts secreting insulin at the anticipation of sugar arriving, so when no sugar comes, the blood sugar level drops and hunger pangs begin.

61. Beer promotes fat storage as it contains more than alcohol. It also have fast digesting carbs, resulting in a rush of insulin and a rise in blood sugar level. It promotes fat storage around the belly – hence the term ‘beer bop’.

62. Red or dry white wine does not have the same effect as beer because they contain less sugar and carbohydrate. Be careful though, too much alcohol will slow weight loss.

63. Babies should not be raised on carbohydrates. The development of their brain requires fat and protein.

64. When starting a baby on solids, avoid baby cereals and baby food that is laden with sugar. Rather process your own vegetables and meat and feed them that.

65. Children who are obese at a young age are most likely already carbohydrate resistant and will benefit from changing to Low Carb lifestyle.

66. A great breakfast for school going children is bacon and eggs with sausage and and perhaps even some of the previous night’s protein. That will be sure to see them through to lunchtime.

67. The reason why children get fat is not because they have occasional sweet snacks for a treat over their birthday or Christmas, but rather that we are filling their lunchboxes with sugary treats, which falsely suggest they useful for energy.

68. Lunchbox treats for children could include biltong, dry wors, boiled eggs, cheese or nuts and seeds. Replace sandwiches with seed crackers.

69. Embracing a LCHF lifestyle during pregnancy is absolutely possible. In fact it is probably beneficial and may even prevent gestational diabetes and extra weight gain.

70. Ditch margarine. Use butter. Why? Butter is made from cow’s milk. The fatty part of cow’s milk is churned until it becomes butter! End of story. Margarine is made with vegetable oil, which is liquid at room temperature. To make it harder it has to be processed and this is done by ‘hydrogenation.’ Hydrogenated fat is bad for you.

71. Margarine also contains colourants, emulsifiers and other artificial ingredients.

72. Butter is high in calories and if you need to watch your calorie intake, you may prefer to use olive oil as a butter substitute.

73. It is becoming known that animal fats do not influence your cholesterol as much as previously believed. If you have a familial history of high cholesterol, you do need to watch your intake of dietary cholesterol.

74. Banting is a low carbohydrate and high fat way of eating. It is not high protein, but rather moderate protein.

75. Best foods to eat are those that grow on a tree or plant and look like what they are.

76. Try to avoid anything that it is in a box, a tin, or a packet. If it has a long shelf life, it’s probably loaded with preservatives.

77. If you want to get a good idea as to whether you are pre-diabetic ask your GP to test your HBA1c. It measures the percentage of glucose in your blood over the last 3 months. Drive for 5%.

78. Don’t be afraid of fat – the fat of grass-fed free range animals is fine to eat.

79. When choosing food, choose from free range organic variety.

80. Try not to snack. It’s easy to do when you are bored. Train yourself not to.

81. Don’t eat when you are not hungry!

82. Cut sugar out of your diet. Do not add it to tea or coffee. Drink water instead of fizzy drinks laden with either sugar or aspartane! It’s amazing how your taste buds adjust – very soon you learn to appreciate the real taste of natural food.

83. Honey is sugar – avoid it.

84. We tend to eat far more than is necessary to sustain us. When you have got your appetite under control, you will discover that you can live energetically without grazing through the day. In fact, you will discover two meals a day perfectly sustainable.

85. Most people are attracted to a LCHF lifestyle because the hope it will result in weight loss, but that’s not the only reward. Cutting out sugar results in much clearer skin. Stomach ailments such as pre-ulcers have been known to clear up. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is helped by the diet and skin irritations such as eczema have also been seen to improve.

86. You don’t get hungry eating LCHF – the food is filling and the lifestyle sustainable.

87. Use full cream in tea or coffee instead of milk to cut down on the amount of sugar.

88. Bullet proof coffee usually is 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter melted with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, whisked well and added to a cup of black coffee. Guarantee to give you a boost that will last several hours.

89. For baking, look out for almond flour or coconut flour as low carb substitutes for wheat flour.

90. Make use of cauliflower to make cauli-rice or cauli-mash to substitute for rice and mashed potato.

91. You can also use cauliflower mashed with a little almond flour to create a pizza base.

92. It’s very difficult to get your head around the idea of going through life without cake – let it be a treat from time to time and not a weekly event.

93. Dark chocolate is acceptable – the darker the better, so aim for 70% at least and none of the flavoured varieties.

94. Regular peanut butter is loaded with sugar and processed (in sunflower oil) peanuts, so it’s off the Banting list. Do look out for macadamia nut butter or you can even try and make your own by processing macadamia nuts until they are smooth and ‘spreadable’. Then at least you will know what you are eating!

95. Fruit is laden with sugar so use it sparingly. But a nice lunchtime snack, is two thin slices of apple, spread with macadamia nut butter and a piece of cheese.

96. Keep left over dinner meat for breakfast the next day.

97. Try and find a dietician who follows this lifestyle – go for at least one consultation to assess your needs.

98. Expect some opposition if you start eating this lifestyle. Not everyone believes that it is beneficial. Be patient and find common ground that everyone can enjoy such as Greek salads, vegetable dishes, fish, ostrich meat and meals using avocados, olives and feta cheese.

99. Do as much research as you can online to find recipes and new exciting creative Banting meals.

100. Eating this way takes some initial discipline to be successful. Once you have seen the results and renewed energy, you will be more motivated to continue

101. LCHF/ Banting eating is individual to each and every person who tries it. Each of us are unique. There is balance to be had in embracing this eating plan. You are responsible for finding it. 

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Why ketogenic?

The whole idea of a ketogenic diet sounds so appealing. To be in the state of ketosis when your bodily fat is being effectively consumed from within is something that I would imagine all of the overweight people would hope to achieve. It’s almost like creating your own science project and you are the project. The extremes of it is what worries me, the need to check urine samples and some even go so far as blood samples to see if their body is in the state of ketosis. It’s all going a bit far for my liking and maybe though it’s why I am a failed dieter as I will not go the extra step and have the single mindedness to pursue this dream.

The whole paleo, Banting NSNG is appealing as of course their diet, in my opinion (theirs may differ) is ketogenic.

You do need the right tools though to be successful. Obviously firstly is frame of mind and with that comes determination and self belief, we can all diet it’s not rocket science – just eat less! Also we need to have the right foods available to us and to plan our menus for tasty and satisfying food that once eaten will not cause us to waiver! Sometimes that is of course easier said than done.

I have found that I am most successful when dieting if I record what I eat and initially check quantities as guessing portion size can sometimes be haphazard. To this end the wonderful app My Fitness Pal (MFP) is very useful and once you have stored your favourites on it you will find you can add your daily foods simply and sometimes just by scanning the bar code. Recipe creation is easy too, though not so easy to amend a recipe once created!

My failure to date has been not correctly measuring my quantities and recording my foods – well and of course eating the wrong foods!

I have also discovered a great website that actually works out for you on a ketogenic basis what your protein carbohydrate fat intake should be! As the app MFP gives you a breakdown of these ratios in food they both work together really well. Here is the site:

http://keto-calculator.ankerl.com

Or you can try:

http://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator/

For the next week I am going to use the MFP to track my success and monitor how closely I am following the suggested ratios and what the results for me are.

I am also conscious that I don’t drink enough water. I probably have only 4 drinks a day, MFP enables you to record your drinks too so I need to make use of this and record!

Exercise is another issue, you can record what you do on MFP so it’s a really handy app to have!

What is your body fat percentage? These pictures help you to have a rough guess

Salmon coconut oil and lime!

Looking forward to trying out this dish. I am marinating the salmon in lime juice and some coconut oil, it smells amazing!

Will cook with stir fry veg, ginger and garlic in a little coconut milk can’t wait! TOH needs to hurry back from the gym!

Feeling much more positive and seem to be getting back to where I was last weekend. Goodness only knows what happened 4 glasses of wine and 2 bits of cake and I seem to have put on 4 pounds!!

Is sugar making you fat?

Since being more aware of what I am eating it’s shocking what you can discover!

“This generation of children will lead shorter lifespans of their parents, sugar has been pumped into so many low fat foods, the USDA has an inherent conflict of interest when it comes to US agriculture and setting dietary guidelines, big food doesn’t necessarily want us to know what we are eating, labels don’t tell the whole story, marketing to children is basically coopting their brains and wiring them at a very early age and we can actually do something about all of these things.” – Katic Couric (1a)

Katie Couric journalist, author and talk-show host is executive producer of her recent documentary ‘Fed Up,’ directed written and produced by Stephanie Soechtig a documentary which illustrates how sugar is impacting the health and well-being of American society. America is not alone, with obesity rates in Australia tipping near 30%, 31% in New Zealand, Canada is pushing near 25%, in Europe 23% of women and 20% of men are obese. These figures do not include the percentage of overweight people within these countries which pushes these numbers significantly higher. In some cases the combined percentage of populations that are either overweight or obese is almost 70%. For example in the UK 67% of men and 57% of women are either overweight or obese. Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar website outlines some of the health risks of high sugar diets and has links to some of the studies and research undertaken around sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Some of these include: sugar ages the body and causes wrinkles, increased risk of heart disease, increasing the risk of cancer and sugar increases your risk of diabetes A retrospective, worldwide study found small increases in sugar can lead to significant increases in diabetes rates. The white stuff makes you fat, a meta-analysis study published in the British Medical Journal shows increased sugar intake is significantly associated with weight gain and an increased risk of obesity in children having just one sweetened drink per day.(1)

‘Fed Up’ premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year which suggested Sugar may be the New Cigarettes? Fed Up traces back the last 35 years and makes a convincing case that big business is to blame. (When isn’t it?) The food industry responded to the McGovern Report by flooding the grocery aisles with “healthy” chips, cookies, drinks and cereals that cut fat while quietly upping the sugar. Since then, sugar consumption has doubled. It’s not because we’re pounding down the pound cakes — a breakfast of orange juice and a bowl of processed cereal maxes out our ideal sugar intake for the rest of the day. Sugar increases insulin, insulin increases fat storage. And it’s addictive. In a study Soechtig quotes, 93 percent of lab rats chose sugar water over cocaine. At this rate, in twenty years, 95 percent of the population will be obese, a crisis that affects every aspect of our country’s stability from health care spending to national defense. A group of retired military leaders is so alarmed by our out-of-shape society that they’ve issued a warning study called “Too Fat to Fight.” At that point in the screening, the slender actresses to the right of me tsk-tsked, but then Fed Up dropped a bomb: 40 percent of thin people are also fat, their internal organs padded with enough damaging blubber that they may as well be clinically obese. Behold, our new national paranoia: TOFI, or Thin Outside, Fat Inside. (2)

“The Government is subsidizing the obesity epidemic.” – Michael Pollan
Fed Up shows how the first dietary guidelines issued by the U.S. government 30 years ago overlooked the role of dietary sugar in increasing risks of obesity, diabetes, and associated ill-health outcomes, particularly in children. Since these guidelines effectively condoned unlimited addition of sugar to foods consumed by children, sugar consumption has greatly increased, obesity has skyrocketed, and generations of children have grown up far fatter than their parents. These children face impaired health and shorter lifespans as a result. The film upends the conventional wisdom of why we gain weight and lays bare the misinformation put forth on how to lose it. It reveals that far more of the American public gets sick from what they eat than anyone realized. The film traces the history of processed foods adding dangerous levels of sugar and sweeteners to their roster of ingredients. (It began in the late 1970s with the rise of low-fat foods and has intensified since then.) Doctors bemoan the rise of adult-onset diabetes in young children, as well as children suffering strokes and heart attacks at a very young age, due to their excessive intake of sugar.(3)

“There are 600,000 food items in America, 80% of them have added sugar.” – Dr Robert Lustig
“Fed Up” is a mixture of in-the-life coverage and a roster of talking heads that include former President Bill Clinton. Soechtig spent two years with a group of kids, documenting their efforts to improve their health through dieting and exercise. The tragedy, her film argues, is that the pervasiveness of the food industry and the misinformation it disseminates has stacked all the odds against them. Personal responsibility and freedom of choice has always been Big Food’s counter to accusations of public endangerment, but if the American people has been so intricately misled, where is the personal freedom to make the right decision for one’s health? If “Fed Up” is persuasive and passionate enough in making its argument, it could lead to a huge difference in how we view healthy consumption. (4)

Article by Andrew Martin editor of onenesspublishing and author of One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future…

Sources

(1a) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tHq4_a0y9U

(1) http://iquitsugar.com/science/

(2) http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2014/01/fed-up-sugar-documentary.php

(3)http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2014/01/29/katie-couric-documentary/5019841/

(4) http://www.indiewire.com/article/sundance-curiosities-will-fed-up-be-the-last-straw-for-americas-food-industry

Country Obesity Statistics

http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/Factsheet-Overweight-and-obesity.pdf

http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/obesity

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/canada-s-obesity-rates-triple-in-less-than-30-years-1.2558365

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/may/29/uk-western-europe-obesity-study

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2014001/article/11922-eng.htm#a7

http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/obesity/data-and-statistics

Almond flour – if you are interested

Taken from a recent Facebook post

5 Reasons to Avoid Almond Flour
April 1, 2013 by Lauren G (Empowered Sustenance) Affiliate Disclosure

Almond flour is a little darling of grain free, Paleo/Primal, and low carb baking. It easily rivals conventional flour in its ability to produce tender and fluffy baked goods. Unfortunately, almond flour has numerous detrimental health consequences. It is important to understand these aspects of almond flour, so you can make the decision to avoid almond flour or choose to use almond flour with judicious moderation.

1. Almond flour skews perception about quantity
Get this: A cup of almond flour contains about 90 almonds! I calculated that by dividing 640 calories in a cup of almond flour by 7 calories in an almond. Almond flour disguises the consumption of the nuts.

For example, this ever-popular Almond Flour Pancake recipe from Elana’s Pantry calls for 1 1/2 cups of almond flour and yields about 4 servings (or 2-3 servings, if you have a hearty pancake appetite).

There are about 135 almonds in the entire batch, and 33 almonds per serving (for 4 servings). That is like 3 big handfuls of almonds, eaten at one sitting!

Imagine sitting down and mindfully chewing 33 almonds at one meal. After perhaps a big handful, your body would tell you “Okay. I’m full. That’s enough almonds for right now.” As you may know from experience, your body loses that perception and communication when consuming almond flour.

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.
Polyunsaturated fats aren’t inherently evil, only harmful when consumed in excess. According to nutrition expert Sébastien Noël at Paleo Lifestyle,

In an effort to optimize health and longevity, one should strive to keep a total PUFA intake under 4% of total calories and an omega-6/omega-3 ratio very close to 1:1. On an average 2,200 calorie diet, 4% PUFA means only about 5 to 8 grams of omega-6 per day to maintain the proper ratio with omega-3 fats. Read 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 my Guide to Choosing and Using Good Fats.

Update: It looks like I may have missed the mark on this point! According to Sarah Ballantyne, scientist, author and a blogging friend,

If you were cooking with almond oil, this would be true. But, research shows that polyunsaturated fats are much more heat stable when part of the whole foods (including the unadulterated seed, but also ground into meals and flours). The best research into the heat stability of polyunsaturated fats in baked goods comes from the study of flaxseed meal and research shows that only an extremely small percentage of the fats are oxidized during cooking. Researchers speculate that the reason the polyunsaturated fats in flaxseed meal are resistant to heat is because they are not isolated but rather are present in a matrix of other compounds that the flaxseeds contain (i.e., when they are bound to proteins, carbohydrates, other fats, fiber etc. that are part of the ground up seed). In addition, the presence of antioxidants in the whole ground seed reduces fat oxidation. These natural antioxidants include lignin fiber (rich in phenols, see this post) and vitamin E which nuts and seeds are particularly rich in.

Furthermore, the internal temperature of baked goods rarely exceeds 160F, which is well below the smoking point of even the most easily oxidized and unstable fats.

Sarah and I share deep mutual respect but we disagree about the virtues of almond flour. She believes the pros outweigh the cons and I believe the cons outweigh the pros. We are happy to disagree about this point and now we leave you to decide how to incorporate almond flour into your lifestyle.

4. Almond flour is high in enzyme inhibitors
Enzyme inhibitors are concentrated in all nuts and seeds and, as a result, almond flour contains a significant amount. Enzyme inhibitors are problematic for digestion, since enzymes are necessary to digest all aspects of our meal from carbohydrates to proteins to fats. When we eat food, it is partly digested by stomach acid in the stomach. Then it travels to the small intestine where the acidity of the chyme (the food mixture) signals the pancreas to release digestive enzymes to further break down the food.

What happens when enzyme inhibitors are present in the chyme from the food we’ve consumed? Our own digestive enzymes can’t complete their job. The body senses a need for more enzymes, so it overcompensates and the pancreas releases even more enzymes. Unfortunately, extra digestive enzymes problematic and deplete the pancreas. The consumption of nuts and seeds causes enzyme imbalances and this often manifests as bloating and stomach pain.

If you enjoy nuts and seeds in any form – in snacks or for baking – soak them first to denature most of the enzyme inhibitors.

5. Coconut flour is healthier than almond flour
When it comes to grain free baking, coconut flour is my top choice. Unlike almond flour, the fat in coconut flour is primarily saturated fat. That means it is safe to heat and it is not toxic to the body. The coconut oil in coconut flour is a veritable superfood, celebrated for weight loss, candida control, metabolism boosting and more. While the fats in almond flour slow metabolism, the fats in coconut flour actually speed up metabolism!

Additionally, a littles goes a long way. Coconut flour seems pricey at first, but it stretches. One batch of my popular Coconut Flour Pancakes with Gelatin use only 1/4 cup of coconut flour for 2 generous portions.

Want to get started with coconut flour? First, here is my Coconut Flour 101 Primer.

Second, remember not to over-do the coconut flour. I limit myself to 2-4 tablespoons of coconut flour per day, mostly because it can be pricy when consumed in abundance. But more importantly, coconut flour is very high in fiber and that is not necessarily a good thing. Please read my post, Is a High Fiber Diet a Health Hazard? for more info.

Third, it is important to start with reliable recipes when using coconut flour. Two of my favorite introductory recipes are:

Paleo Cornbread Muffins
Onion and Herb Biscuits
What about phytic acid in almond flour?

As you may know, phytic acid is an anti-nutrient that prevents your body from absorbing minerals. Almonds, like all nuts and seeds, have high levels of phytic acid if they aren’t soaked and dehydrated. But in almonds, most of the phytic acid is in the brown skin which is removed before the almonds are processed into flour. So phytic acid is a minor issue when it comes to almond flour. You should, however, consider the health detriments of phytic acid if you are using another nut/seed flour that is not made from soaked and dehydrated nuts.

Almond flour and MODERATION

Almond flour should be used in judicious moderation. Perhaps that means one almond flour treat once a month. Maybe set aside the almond flour just for special occasions. I would also suggest giving your body a break from almond flour for a month, and see if you feel… different. You may feel more energy or have less pain and inflammation. You may not. We’re all unique, so you have to experiment and discover what best fuels your body.