Close up on wheat stalk heads in field.

The Problem with Whole Wheat

One of the main problems with whole wheat is its gluten content. Many people with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity experience digestive issues upon consuming whole wheat. Whole wheat products also upset blood sugar stability. The body's digestive enzymes take longer to reach the starch inside whole wheat, slowing down the conversion of starch to sugar. Whole wheat also contains phytic acid that binds to minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium, preventing the body absorbing these key minerals. When the body is not getting enough micronutrients from food, it is more at risk for various types of disease. Unfortunately, nutrient-poor whole wheat and other grains are such a large part of our food supply. There are, however, many alternatives to whole wheat flour that are nutritious and more easily digested.

Flour Substitutes

  • Almond flour is great for making cookies, cakes, muffins, and other baked goods. You can even coat chicken tenders in it to create some crispy fried chicken. Using almond flour does leave your food with a touch of almond flavor though, so be prepared for that. But, it is considered a high-fiber food with good fat content and packed with magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

  • Amaranth flour is a sweet-tasting and protein-rich ancient grain. Traditionally, amaranth flour is used in making muffins, pancakes, and breads.

  • Arrowroot flour is a starch extracted from a tropical plant and looks very similar to yucca in its shape. This white and very powdery starch can act as a thickening agent. It is used in gluten-free, vegan, and Paleo cooking.

  • Banana flour comes from dried green bananas and has a high starch content. Try baking with banana flour with this recipe for Banana Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies.

  • Brown rice flour is a non-allergenic flour that is easily digestible. This flour can be used to make gluten-free pasta and bread. Brown rice contains high amounts of vitamin B3, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, manganese, phosphorus, iron, dietary fiber, and essential fatty acids.

  • Buckwheat flour is naturally gluten-free and has a nutty, bold flavor. It is actually a fruit seed, not a grain, and is often used to make pancakes and waffles. Buckwheat is a staple in Asian cooking, used in the making of soba noodles.

  • Cassava flour is made by grating and drying the yucca root. Cassava is full of vitamin C, boosting skin health and oral health.

  • Chickpea flour comes from dried and ground garbanzo beans. Commonly found in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking, chickpea flour is a good source of fiber and protein. It is mostly enjoyed in soups and hummus.

  • Coconut flour may have the highest fiber content of any flour! It is naturally gluten-free and adds a sweet flavor to recipes. Use it in oatmeal, to coat and crust fish, and to make these Collagen Protein Cookies.

  • Oat flour is more easily digested than whole oats. You'll find a good amount of fiber in oat flour.

  • Pumpkin seed meal may surprise you with its green color! Pumpkin seeds may give a somewhat nutty flavor to your recipe. However, it tends to taste more mild than almond flour. Use the pumpkin seed meal to create breads and rolls.

  • Quinoa flour adds some nutrition to your baked goods with its essential amino acids. It is also loaded with potassium. This flour works best in muffins and breads, and has a bold and nutty flavor.

  • Sunflower seed meal is a great allergen-free flour replacement that can be subbed one for one in most recipes. To make the flour/meal, grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor, and sift out the big pieces.

Unlike baking with wheat flour, some of these flours may need to be combined with others in order to create the perfect consistency and taste. Although baking with whole wheat flour alternatives requires more careful attention, they bring new flavors and more nutrition to your baking. Experiment with a variety of these whole wheat flour substitutes until you find your favorites for creating irresistible baked goods!

Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

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About The Author

Indy Summers's picture

Indy Summers is a freelance writer interested in fashion, healthy living, and fitness. She has worked as a master in esthetician, as a personal trainer, and as a freelance model for several years so considers herself an expert in these industries. For more of her work, visit

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