We use lupin as a key ingredient in all our products – so if you’ve been eating our pancakes, muffins, bread, pizza bases, cookies, carrot cake and banana bread, you’ve already had a taste of lupin. We’ve also used kibbled lupin in our P300 Protein Rice. But, what is lupin, exactly?
Lupin is a little legume that has been deemed a “superfood” because of its amazing nutritional profile – but it’s actually been around for a while.
If you’ve ever travelled to Spain, Italy, Portugal or parts of South America, you may have had ‘lupini’ beans alongside your drink at a bar. These healthy lupin beans have been eaten since ancient times and are quite traditional in Mediterranean and South American cuisine, today mostly enjoyed as a bar snack in the same way we eat peanuts or olives.
More recently they have been turned into flakes, flour and kibble to be used in bread, baking and low carb cereals and crumbs, and have been added to some gluten free bread mixes for some time in Europe and Australia. Lupin can be used in a variety of ways to make our favourite foods low carb, high protein and gluten free.
They give a perfect golden crumb for chicken or fish instead of breadcrumbs, can be combined with nuts and seeds to make crunchy low carb granola, and can be made into cous cous or even to coat arancini balls and falafel. Lupin has a mild, nutty flavour that takes on other flavours easily, and it can be used in both savoury and sweet foods.
On top of how great it is for cooking and baking, the awesome thing about lupin is its amazing nutritional benefits.
It’s a really rich source of natural plant protein and dietary fibre, which helps to keep you fuller for longer, plus it’s a great source of prebiotic fibre for a healthy gut.
It’s also gluten free and has only 4 grams of digestible carbs per 100g (!) which makes it very low GI and low carb. Lupin actually has the lowest GI of any commonly consumed grains or legumes, which is great for a slow, sustained release of energy.
Lupin also has a high bio-availability of essential nutrients, and a high mineral content of calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron.
It has probably been given “superfood” status because it has more protein than quinoa, more dietary fibre than oats, more antioxidants than berries, more potassium than bananas, and more iron than kale. It gets its yellow colour from carotenoids, which are antioxidants that have been shown to have protective health benefits, including cancer-fighting properties.
Studies show that lupin:
- Increases satiety (suppresses appetite by increasing the feeling of fullness) which in turn lowers energy intake.
- Improves glucose metabolism by improving both blood glucose and insulin responses and reducing blood sugar spikes.
- Reduces hypertension and improves blood pressure, which is great for heart health.
- Improves gut health with prebiotic fibre that feeds good bacteria in the gut.
- Contains a healthy dose of omega 3s with an ideal ratio of more omega 3 to omega 6 (about 1:4)
Because it’s so high in fibre, we get asked if it gives any digestion issues. This obviously depends on the individual, but lupin has negligible amounts of trypsin inhibitors which are found in soy and are known to interfere with digestion. It’s also very low in lectins and saponins, which are two known gastric irritants.
In saying this, though, there is a food allergy warning for lupin because it comes from the same plant family as peanuts. Please be aware if you are allergic to other legumes such as peanuts before consuming lupin. According to FSANZ, some people who are allergic to peanuts may also be allergic to lupin.
We love that 85% of the world’s lupin is grown in Australia – and has been for the past 150 years – with most of Australia’s lupin coming from WA. We always support Aussie farmers where we can, so it’s great that our lupin comes locally from Riverina in NSW. Lupin is also sustainable and grows with minimal water, which is good news for our farmers, and is also non GMO, which is great news for you!
- I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes around the time I was finishing a journalism degree in my early 20s. I have followed a low carb diet for the past couple of years after the standard dietary advice of a low GI diet wasn’t working with my blood sugar levels. If I’m not cooking a low carb creation, I’m probably at a farmer’s market, doing yoga or going for a park run, attempting hip-hop dance, reading, writing or sketching! I love Aussie beaches, Italian culture, Spanish tapas and discovering new places through travelling. I like to keep on top of health news and follow what’s happening in the low carb space, so feel free to follow me on Twitter or Instagram @kathyskantzos for my latest insights.