Is Almond Flour Good for People with Diabetes?

If you're watching your blood sugar and minding your carbohydrate intake, baking may feel out of the question. Yet, it doesn't need to be! You can use almond flour in place of all-purpose flour.

You may have noticed a growing number of alternative flours lining the baking aisle of your supermarket. But the question remains: Is it a good idea to eat these flours when you’re managing diabetes? While all nut flours are a bit different, almond flour is a safe choice at the store.

Is Almond Flour Good for People with Diabetes?

Yes! Since almond flour is made from blanched, ground nuts, it contains all the same health benefits of almonds. Almond flour, for example, is high in blood stabilizing fiber, blood pressure-reducing magnesium, and inflammation fighters such as vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids. That means that eating almond flour could help you manage your diabetes as well as protect you from heart disease!

When you compare it to white wheat all-purpose flour, almond flour contains less than one quarter the amount of carbohydrates. And, of the remaining carbs, more than half are fiber, a type of non-digestible carbohydrate that doesn’t drive up glucose but helps dampen it down instead. This is one reason almond flour can be a particularly good option for folks with diabetes.

Since almond flour contains nothing but almonds, it is safe to assume that including more of it in your diet will allow you to enjoy the same benefits associated with eating almonds. For example, in one study, when people with type 2 diabetes increased their almond intake, it resulted in lower total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as lower insulin and blood glucose levels and improved their overall blood sugar control. In a second study, eating more almonds daily significantly lowered participants’ Ha1C in the course of just 12 weeks—the typical amount of time between appointments to measure this important disease marker.

3 Ways to Eat Almond Flour If You Have Diabetes

Use When Baking

While some baking enthusiasts say that you can’t swap in almond flour for the all-purpose kind in recipes, others are much more confident about its versatility. It depends on the type of texture you’re going for and the overall amount of flour used in a recipe; however, you can find anything from pancakes to cakes to cookies to biscuits made with this unique ingredient.

If you’re unsure about whether a one-to-one swap will work, create your own flour blend instead. Trade in almond flour for white flour in increments, starting by replacing one quarter of your regular flour with almond flour on the first try. If you’re happy with the results, increase it to a half almond, half regular flour ratio, then up to three quarters, and so on. You can also find a recipe that calls for almond flour to begin with, such as this low-carb almond flour bread.

Editor’s Tip: If you put almond flour into a traditional recipe (such as chocolate chip cookies) be sure to let everyone know it contains an allergen, which might not otherwise be obvious.

Create a ‘Bread Crumb’ Coating

You can use almond flour as a bread crumb substitute or in place of traditional flours. Make a nutty crust for chicken and fish (start with this Crispy Almond Tilapia), or coat chicken tenders and fish sticks if you’re cooking for kids. Because almond flour has a mild, sweet and almost buttery flavor, the coating will contain extra nutrients and be extra delicious! And it’s high in fat (the healthy kind) which means it can be tossed in an air fryer, along with these other air-fryer friendly foods.

Sprinkle It in Savory Recipes

The carbohydrate count of traditional recipes such as meatballs and meatloaf can be cut down, too, by sprinkling in almond flour as opposed to bread crumbs. (If the recipe calls for flavored breadcrumbs, be sure to mix in the additional herbs so you won’t miss out on flavor.) You can also use it to thicken sauces such as gravy, though add a little at a time to avoid making it too thick too quickly and, if available, choose the finely ground version as it mixes more easily.

Editor’s Tip: Regardless of how you’re using almond flour, store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Since it has a higher fat content than regular flours, it can go rancid more quickly. The cold storage prevents that problem.

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Amelia Sherry, MPH, RD, CDN, CDCES
Amelia Sherry, MPH, RD, CDCES, provides nutrition therapy via a New York-based private practice. She is also the founder of NourishHer, which supports mothers and daughters who want to have happy, healthy relationships with food and body. Amelia has written for publications including Reader's Digest, Family Circle, Fitness, SELF, Redbook, Latina, Today's Dietitian and Woman's World. She is also the author of 'Diet-Proof Your Daughter,' which you can find on Amazon.