What is the lowest calorie flour? It depends in part on what you call “flour”. There’s a different answer if you’re limiting yourself to classic grains versus grain-free “flour” substitutes.
We’ll identify the lowest calorie wheat flours, grain flours, and non-grain flour alternatives.
We’ll also share tips on how to reduce the calorie density of whatever recipe you’re using.
What is the lowest calorie wheat flour?
White pastry flour has 62 calories per eighth of a cup. We’ll use this as the standard for wheat flours. Unbleached white flour has the same number of calories. Whole wheat flour has only 50 calories per an eighth of a cup.
*This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please take that into account.
The lowest calorie wheat flour is Kamut flour(if you click on this link you can check it’s today price on Amazon). Kamut is an ancient grain derived from a low-yield strain of amber wheat. It is high in protein and has a buttery, nutty flavor.
Check it out on Amazon (affiliate link)
(However, it doesn’t contain nuts.) It comes in just below buckwheat flour at 50 calories per an eighth of a cup. On the flip side, semolina flour is worse. It has 75 calories per eighth of a cup.
Kamut flour is lower in calories because it is so high in fiber, something semolina almost lacks.
Wheat flour is often avoided because it triggers celiac diseases and allergies in those allergic to gluten.
That’s why those who can’t eat wheat will eat higher calorie alternatives. For example, potato flour contains 120 calories per eighth of a cup, twice that of the average cup of wheat flour.
What is the lowest calorie grain flour?
Here, we’re comparing flours that are made from grains both old and new but are not derived from wheat. Amaranth flour has 55 calories per eighth of a cup. Quinoa and millet flour has the same number of calories.
The biggest reason to use quinoa is that it is both low calorie and provides a complete source of protein. It also provides a natural source of iron and calcium, a plus if you’re vegetarian.
Graham flour, which is wheat-based, has 55 calories per eighth of a cup. White whole wheat flour contains 55 calories per eighth of a cup. Buckwheat, dark re four and light rye flour are tied at roughly fifty calories per eighth of a cup.
Non-wheat flours have significant variety when it comes to caloric density. Soy flour has sixty calories per eighth of a cup. Bean flours made from garbanzo beans come in a little lower.
This is why grain-based alternatives really don’t have less than 55 to 60 calories per eighth of a cup, 100 to 120 calories for a quarter cup.
What is the lowest calorie flour alternative?
Grain-free flour alternatives are not necessarily low calorie. For example, blanched almond flour has a whopping 160 calories per eighth of a cup. Almond meal is better in this regard. It has only 80 calories per eighty of a cup.
Coconut flour may have more fiber and healthy fats than grain flours, but it has 60 calories per eighth of a cup. That rivals the calorie density of spelt and teff flour.
The coconut flour will win if you’re counting fiber calories, though. It is also one of the better choices if you’re trying to stabilize blood sugar and avoid carbs.
Why then is blanched almond flour so popular? That’s because it can be used as a direct substitute for wheat flour in almost any recipe. You don’t have to add other flours to it for baking, a common problem with soy flours.
The downside is the amount of fat it contains. It also isn’t an option if you’re allergic to nuts.
Coconut flour may win out because you need less of it.
For example, a recipe that calls for two cups of oat flour could have forty to fifty grams of coconut flour used instead. While coconut flour has more calories per cup of oat flour, you don’t need two cups.
Depending on the recipe, you may have to add a little more egg to bind the dough, but the coconut flour recipe still averages out to fewer calories per serving. And coconut flour is both totally gluten-free and nut-free.
Coconuts don’t come from the same family of trees that cause allergies like walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts. Be careful not to add coconut oil and eggs to the coconut flour recipe, or you’ll have both an overwhelming coconut flavor and baked goods high in saturated fat.
Yet you can use coconut flour as a coating for chicken and seafood and get a similar taste and texture to wheat flour.
What can you do to lower the calorie content of flour?
In every case, using whole grains in place of refined flour reduces its calorie count. You can substitute other lower-calorie grain flours to the recipe as long as you’re mindful of how this affects the recipe.
For example, substituting one type of wheat flour for another won’t change things much. Add coconut or almond flour to a recipe, and you alter everything from the amount of liquid required to the cooking time.
One option is adding flax to the recipe.
If the recipe calls for two cups of flour, use half a cup of ground flax with three quarters of a cup of both whole wheat and white flour. The cup and a half of flour cause the whole mix to behave like normal bread, while the whole wheat flour and flax dramatically increase the fiber content of the bread. You’ve now cut down on both the calories and carbs of the bread recipe.
Another option is finely grinding dry rolled oats as a substitute for one cup of flour. Just grind up your oatmeal in the food processor. You could replace up to half the flour in the recipe with oat flour.
The biggest benefit of oat flour over the alternatives is that it is incredibly cheap and commonly available.
You can substitute wheat flour with rye flour, though this isn’t gluten-free.
The higher fiber count of rye flour will reduce the calorie content of the bread. Note that the rye is darker, so it will alter the appearance of the final product. That makes it a good choice for muffins or pancakes over loaves of bread.