Aquafaba is a favorite for recipe-swaps in the vegan community. It can serve as a substitute for egg whites, making it the perfect replacement for any dish that calls for the ingredient. It’s used in everything from meringues and marshmallow fluff to vegan cheese and ice cream.
More and more people are turning to veganism to promote gut health, but find it challenging to make their favorite dishes once they make the switch. Aquafaba is a baking go-to for vegans and individuals with egg allergies, but what is it?
Aquafaba is the water or gelatinous substance in cans of beans. While many people drain the beans and wash the substance away, others hold onto it for future use. You can whip it up into a fluffy texture with a hand mixer or whisk.
Some people go crazy for it due to the low-calorie count. The nutritional value in aquafaba is low, though. While there are just 43 calories and half a gram of fat per cup, the food substitute lacks any significant amount of vitamins or minerals.
The Benefits of Aquafaba
If you’re looking to cut calories from a dish, aquafaba may be the way to go. Additionally, it has no saturated fat, no trans fat, and no cholesterol. It’s extremely low in sodium and sugar, and it takes just five minutes of light jogging to burn off those 43 calories in one serving cup.
For vegans who feel limited when cooking, aquafaba might be the perfect solution. Best of all, you probably already have a few cans of beans in your cabinets. So, you don’t have to run to the store to buy another product, and you’ll save money on expensive egg substitutes.
The Downsides of Aquafaba
Some individuals stay away from aquafaba for various reasons. First, aquafaba contains a compound known as oligosaccharides. The name sounds daunting, but it means that there are sugars in the food that your body can’t digest until they reach your colon. The result is bloating and gas, symptoms many people aren’t fond of.
Aquafaba also contains saponins, another compound that can be hard to digest. For those with sensitive stomachs, it may cause indigestion and gut imbalances. The state of your gut microbiome affects many aspects of your health, so maintaining balance is essential.
One last downside of using aquafaba, particularly as an egg-swap, is that there is virtually no protein in the substance. Store-bought egg substitutes may have added protein, but if you’re using aquafaba alone, you will need to find more plant-based foods to meet the recommended daily value.
Should You Use Aquafaba?
There are no detrimental effects of aquafaba on human health. Aside from the gastrointestinal upset some people experience, if you’re looking for a new egg substitute, we say go ahead and give it a try. However, if you have a bean or legume allergy, aquafaba is not for you.
If you do give aquafaba a try and don’t like it, there’s no harm done, and you can switch back to your other favorite egg-swap. And, be sure to check out some more awesome vegan recipes to add variety to your meal plans.