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Tapioca flour -- why so little used?

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  • Tapioca flour -- why so little used?

    I came across tapioca flour in the store the other day, and was surprised to see that the carb count is actually extremely close to that of coconut flour.

    Here are the products I was comparing:
    Tapioca Flour :: Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods
    and
    Organic Coconut Flour :: Bob\'s Red Mill Natural Foods

    I'm curious why people seem to be really into coconut flour, while tapioca flour doesn't seem nearly as popular. Is it more expensive? Less healthy?

  • #2
    It's gluten-free for sure, so win on that point, but tapioca flour is pretty much pure starch with little or no other micronutrients and redeeming qualities.

    I'll use it if I desperately need a flour replacement, but even then, it's a last choice.
    "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

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    • #3
      Some people also have problems tolerating tapioca. Over another health related forum we find an awful lot of folk add tapioca to their list of intolerances. Me included.

      I may be wrong on this, but I think it is an alkaloid compound that can be in it depending on how it is prepared that causes the problem.

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      • #4
        It can be used as a thickener, but by itself it is not a direct substitute for wheat flour. Sometimes it is used in combination with other flours.

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        • #5
          if you bake soley with tapioca flour, you end up with a very rubbery whatever you were baking. ditto with using it as a thickener if you overdo how much you use. i use it cut with prob 2 cups of rice flour to 1 cup of tapioca and 1/2c coconut flour when i bake GF bread or cookies for the kids.

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          • #6
            I rarely bake these days but when I do, I use fat-reduced almond flour (like 10% fat only). It tastes pretty good and you can make so many nice stuff. But unlike wheat flour (which I used to struggle with in the past to make a decent French baguette or more difficult: French croissants! 50% failure rate ...), almond flour triggers NO CRAVINGS WHATSOEVER - this explains how rare we bake stuff at home.

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            • #7
              Tapioca and rice flour is used pretty often in my culture for steamed/boiled dishes and snacks, we don't really bake with them.
              F 28/5'4/100 lbs

              "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."

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              • #8
                I use it in baking a lot, usually combined with rice and potato flour/starch. Google Brazilian cheese bread (pao de queijo) for a great tapioca recipe. Tapioca is much better than coconut and almond flour, IMO. Chebe bread mix is 100% tapioca starch as the flour if you want a quick and easy bread. Nowhere near low carb though.

                Also, keep in mind that coconut flour has much more dietary fiber, which reduces the net carbs; tapioca has no fiber at all.

                Tapioca = 26g carbs per 30g (1/4 cup) serving
                Coconut flour = 6g NET carbs per 1/4 cup
                Last edited by j3nn; 05-16-2013, 04:55 AM.
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                • #9
                  Tapioca starch is just that - starch. There's nothing to it. I can't see anyone having issues tolerating it because there's nothing it to make you ill.

                  Tapioca starch isn't popular because there is nothing to it. It is highly refined, contains essentially zero nutrition and it instantizes in your bloodstream within minutes so it is a massive blood sugar spike for people with glucose control issues. Coconut flour is 50% fiber, so it is a little easier on your blood glucose, though it is much, much more difficult to digest. Tapioca flour isn't any better or worse than coconut flour - maybe even a little better since it's much easier to digest - but both aren't exactly food. If you want to make a post-workout pancake or waffle here and there it's a good choice but consuming it regularly is a lot like taking a spoon to a jar of coconut oil or a bag of white sugar. It's empty calories, and fruit and potatoes are a much smarter source of calories if you want sugar.
                  Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                  • #10
                    Tapioca starch is cheap (75p/500g in my local Asian shop), flavourless, doesn't absorb lots of fluid and has a lovely gluten-y bounciness when cooked. I almost always use it (sometimes with other flours) on the rare occasions I bake.

                    However, to me looking at the nutritional content of flours, is like looking at the nutritional content of sweeteners (e.g. molasses vs honey) - they aren't a big enough part of my diet to make a difference.

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                    • #11
                      I use tapioca flour a lot more than I do coconut flour. I've been using it for a while though and use it to make pizza crust, tortillas, and the little brazilian cheese rolls you can find at brazillian restaurants.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PrimalStudent View Post
                        I came across tapioca flour in the store the other day, and was surprised to see that the carb count is actually extremely close to that of coconut flour.

                        Here are the products I was comparing:
                        Tapioca Flour :: Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods
                        and
                        Organic Coconut Flour :: Bob\'s Red Mill Natural Foods

                        I'm curious why people seem to be really into coconut flour, while tapioca flour doesn't seem nearly as popular. Is it more expensive? Less healthy?
                        The carbs are totally not close

                        tapioca is 26carbs 1/4cup
                        Coconut is 8 carbs 1/4 cup

                        big difference..

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                        • #13
                          I baked some dog treats with it today and I found it very awkward to stir. It had a very hard rubberey texture when you added a bit of liquid to it.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Yoga11 View Post
                            The carbs are totally not close

                            tapioca is 26carbs 1/4cup
                            Coconut is 8 carbs 1/4 cup

                            big difference..
                            Coconut is 16 carbs... the serving size on the label is 2 tablespoons, and that has 8 carbs. so 4 tablespoons (i.e. 1/4 of a cup) is 16 carbs.

                            anyways, thanks for the feedback everyone!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by PrimalStudent View Post
                              Coconut is 16 carbs... the serving size on the label is 2 tablespoons, and that has 8 carbs. so 4 tablespoons (i.e. 1/4 of a cup) is 16 carbs.

                              anyways, thanks for the feedback everyone!
                              The above person who stated 6 net carb per 1/4 cup is correct.
                              Because the coconut has 5gm fiber per 2tbsp as well and the standard is to subtract that since is has no impact on blood glucose etc.
                              “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
                              ~Friedrich Nietzsche
                              And that's why I'm here eating HFLC Primal/Paleo.

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