Is Tapioca Flour Paleo?

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Tapioca flour, also known as tapioca starch, is an ingredient often found in Paleo recipes. It is made from the starchy root vegetable known as the yucca or cassava. Is it automatically Paleo since it’s derived from a vegetable? How do you know whether it should be part of your diet?

Nutritional Value of Tapioca Flour

Serving Size: 1/4 cup of tapioca flour

  • Calories: 100
  • Calories from Fat: 0
  • Dietary Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g

As you can see, tapioca flour isn’t exactly nutrient dense. In fact, in a 1/4 cup serving, you can expect to get 26 grams of carbs and 2% daily value of iron. That’s it. It is a starch, plain and simple. The whole yucca plant offers more health benefits and vitamins, but when considering the starchy flour on its own, it has a similar nutrient comparison to white rice.

Health Benefits of Tapioca Flour

Yucca-300x200.jpgWhile there are not a lot of good things that tapioca flour does in the body, there are also not a lot of bad things, either. Tapioca flour is a hypoallergenic food that allows people with food allergies or restricted diets to still enjoy “fluffy” baked goods. When mixed with other Paleo flours, tapioca flour can add that “fluffy” bread goodness that isn’t often present with just coconut or almond flour alone.

Should I Eat Tapioca Flour? Is Tapioca Flour Paleo?

Tapioca1-300x200.jpgTapioca flour, like other Paleo flour alternatives, is not something that should be the foundation of a person’s diet. Even Paleo baked goods can contribute to obesity, digestive problems, and other health issues when they become the primary source of food.

For the person eating Paleo, tapioca flour is great to be used for occasional treats and desserts. It’s hypoallergenic and won’t damage the digestive tract. For those who are diabetic or are sensitive to carbohydrates, it might be better to avoid and use only coconut flour.

When baking with tapioca flour, as with other Paleo flours, it is best to follow existing recipes. Tapioca flour does not substitute grain or gluten free flours 1-for-1, but instead, works best when combined with almond flour, coconut flour, or sweet potato. Tapioca flour on its own works well for making things like Paleo versions of tortillas and crepes.

When it comes down to deciding whether tapioca flour should be a part of your Paleo diet or not, consider how carbs affect you and how many other Paleo flours or desserts you already consume. Since it offers little to no nutritional value, tapioca flour is by no means essential for Paleo living. It’s just one of the many options available for that special occasion treat or dessert.

Aimee McNew

Aimee McNew, MNT, CNTP, is a certified nutritionist who specializes in women’s health, thyroid disorders, autoimmunity, and fertility. She is the author of The Everything Guide to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: A Healing Plan for Managing Symptoms Naturally (Simon & Schuster, 2016). Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.