Recently, I attended a Diabetes and Heart Health Update hosted by the Dietitians Association of Australia. The day covered many topics from how we can help transform our traditional meat and three veg meals into a mediterranean style diet to reduce cardiovascular risk to FODMAPs and diabetes management. One of the most interesting topics that got my attention was around an upcoming “superfood” – lupins.
Lupins are legumes with over 80% of crop production coming from Australia. Traditionally, they play an important role in agriculture by replenishing nitrogen stores in the soil in between crop rotations. Interestingly, lupins have been more popular as a livestock feed than human food, as they are currently being used almost entirely for animal feed.
What’s so special about lupins?
Lupins are high in protein (40%) and fibre (37%) and are naturally gluten free. Along from being low in carbohydrates, they also have a low glycaemic index (GI) rating, meaning they are a slow energy releasing food. Definitely sounds like a good combination for people with diabetes!
But what do they taste like?
At the event, there were two display stalls that were showcasing lupin containing foods with samples. There was a choice between lupin containing cookies or bread. The texture of the cookies were nothing I had expected. They were soft and chewy – almost cake-like but rather savoury tasting. It was also quite filling! I think I only had a quarter of a cookie, yet I couldn’t imagine having two full ones, which is a snack serve! Carbohydrate wise, I estimated each cookie to be about 15-20g if normal flour had been used. But I was surprised that the two cookies were only 10.5g of carbohydrates as per the nutritional information panel! Unfortunately I didn’t grab hold of a nutritional informational panel of the bread to compare as there were too many people around. The bread was a lupin chia sourdough and tasted heavenly. The texture was what you would expect from a sourdough with a grainy taste.
Sadly there are few places that stock lupin flour and lupin products at the moment. We were told that they can be found in health food stores, which means that they are probably quite pricey. However, they are working to bring them out in major supermarkets, so keep your eyes out for them in the near future!
For more information about lupins and the evidence behind its health benefits, check out lupinfoods.com.au.
Disclaimer: I was not asked or paid to write about the event or specifically about lupins. Entry to the DAA diabetes and heart health update was paid for by myself. Check out #DiabHeartUpdate on twitter for more on the day.