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lupin beans and lupin flour

Why We Love Lupin

Happy new year and hasn't January flown! We're busy testing new meal recipes for you at the moment with some exciting new flavours coming your way.

In the meantime we've fallen in love with Lupin Bean products and you'll have noticed we launced Lupin Soups and Lupin Bean Snacks late last year. And of course our ever popular range of Skinnybiks are made with lupin flour. Check out all the flavours available in these ranges on our website.

Here's why we love lupin so much when managing diabetes.

Lupins: the king of legumes

By A/Prof. Antigone Kouris PhD, accredited practising dietitian (APD)

Lupin is an ancient legume which has been consumed throughout the Mediterranean region and Andean mountains for thousands of years. Forming an important part of the Mediterranean diet, lupin is usually eaten cold as a delicious whole bean snack. However, the ancient variety of this legume contains bitter compounds which must be removed by soaking in brine followed by boiling.

Did you know that almost 80 per cent of the world’s lupin crop is farmed in Western Australia? Over the last 80 years, lupin has been scientifically bred in Australia to significantly reduce the amount of bitter compounds. This means that the bean has a slightly sweet, more neutral taste and no longer needs soaking in brine or boiling. It can even be eaten uncooked. It is also gluten-free and not genetically modified (GM). Sweet lupin is only available as flour, milled by Irwin Valley in Western Australia. It can be purchased online and from selected health food stores.

How does sweet lupin compare nutritionally to other legumes?

Lupins are the world’s richest natural source of combined plant protein and fibre.
Sweet lupin is therefore the ‘king’ of legumes because it has:
  • a whopping 40 per cent protein – double the amount of other legumes (except soy which is also 40 per cent protein),
  • all the essential amino acids (like soy) but is especially high in arginine that has been shown to
    lower blood pressure – other legumes lack some amino acids,
  • a whopping 30 per cent fibre – double to triple the amount of other legumes,
  • minimal starch and a very low glycaemic index (GI) – other legumes are higher in starch with a low-medium GI,
  • good fats, including omega-3 fats – also found in soy but not in other legumes.  
  • Have there been any studies on Australian sweet lupin flour?

    The initial studies performed on lupin enriched foods (containing at least 20 per cent lupin flour) have shown that they have the potential to:
    • Suppress appetite.
    • Improve blood glucose metabolism by reducing blood glucose and insulin response mainly because of the high fibre and protein content. Note that lupin also has a unique glycoprotein that has been shown in animal studies to sensitise insulin.
    • Improve blood cholesterol.  
    • Lower blood pressure.
    • Improve bowel health due to its prebiotic fibres that can promote the growth of good gut bacteria.
    Allergy/intolerance caution: People with allergies, especially to peanuts and legumes, should avoid lupin. Sweet lupin also contains prebiotic FODMAPs, which may cause symptoms in people who are sensitive.
  • How can Australian sweet lupin flour be used?
  • By replacing half the usual flour in recipes with lupin flour, you can reduce the carbohydrate content and GI of baked goods like bread, cakes, biscuits, scones as well as pancakes and chapattis. It can also be used to coat fish, chicken or patties, and can be added to smoothies, yoghurt, dips, soups and breakfast cereals for extra protein and fibre. Lupin flour costs the same as other legume flours (e.g lentil, chickpea). It has much less starch and more fibre and protein which is what makes it low GI. 

You can find recipes using lupin flour here.

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