Healthy diets don’t change over time—but some food and ingredient trends are continually changing. As health professionals, your clients expect you to have all the answers when it comes to the latest food trends. To keep you in the know, we are offering updates on "ingredients in the news." This issue’s featured ingredient: cassava.
Cassava is trending, especially among gluten-free and nut-free communities, as well as those on paleo-type diets. Many people have tried cassava without knowing it—it also goes by the names yuca, manioc, and Brazilian arrowroot. Cassava is a staple food crop in many parts of the world. Tapioca, commonly used in puddings and as a thickener, is made from cassava starch. While tapioca is the extracted starch, cassava flour is made from the entire root. Recently, cassava flour has become popular among people wanting to avoid grains but continue enjoying baked goods.
Cassava flour provides benefits for bakers avoiding grains: It can often be substituted 1:1 with wheat flour in a recipe, and it provides an alternative for consumers with nut allergies who need to avoid other popular grain replacements like almond flour.
Cassava is a root vegetable like white potato, so it naturally contains no gluten. Four ounces of cassava contains approximately 180 calories, the majority from carbohydrate.* Nutritionally, cassava flour is similar to an unenriched white flour, providing a lot of starch and little fiber, vitamins, or minerals.
Cassava has some sustainability advantages. Cassava is drought-tolerant and can be grown in poorer soil, reducing the need for water and fertilizer application. Additionally, cassava is mostly grown by smallholder farms in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, providing a source of income for farmers in developing countries.
Pictured are cassava waffles, with added chia and flax.
*Note: Always advise clients to check the food label for the most accurate information.
Disclaimer: Conagra Nutrition does not provide medical advice. Information is intended for educational purposes only. For specific nutrition guidance, please consult your regular healthcare provider or a registered dietitian.