That Sugar Movement


Lupin! Coming to a kitchen near you

160509_TSF_FbPost3There have been a myriad of ancient grains and seeds as grain alternatives flooding our market, making for super exciting times in the kitchen, for our bellies and our taste buds.

And lupin may be the next hip member on the block.

Locally grown in Western Australia, Lupinus spp. is actually considered a legume, like soya or chickpea, and has been grown in Mediterranean for over 3000 years.

Let’s have a peek at the pros and cons of this rad wee legume, and see if it lives up to its growing hype!

To love the lupin or leave the lupin

Lupin is an amazing source of the amino acid glutamine, which can contribute to gut health by supporting intestinal lining integrity, due to glutamine being a favourite fuel source of the rapidly dividing intestinal cells. Having a healthy gut lining is integral to good health, and especially those with autoimmune conditions.

Glutamine is also an integral component of the antioxidant system and liver detoxification processes. Boom!

Speaking of amino acids, lupin can offer a serious protein punch, up to 44% – one cup could provide half of the daily protein requirement! It also provides a decent ratio of fibre and some fat, so together this puts lupin at the lower end of the glycaemic load scale, and can fill you up fast.

In fact, a study has found it curbs appetite when compared with eating white bread for breakfast.1 While more studies are needed to prove efficacy, one can hypothesise that due to its relatively low carbohydrate content, replacing higher GI foods with the protein and fibre packed lupin may eventually assist in reducing risk of cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance. Soaked lupin seeds have been considered as a useful natural medicine treatment for diabetes.2

Lupin also offers an array of minerals we often lack due to their high demand and use in the body, such as magnesium, potassium and zinc, whilst dealing out good doses of copper, phosphorus, manganese, calcium and iron.

Unfortunately some people do not gel well with lupin. As a legume, it is gluten free (rad!), but those who react to peanuts, soy, chickpea and lentils may have sensitivities to lupin (not so rad). Just to be aware.

Finally, lupin does contain anti-nutrient alkaloids,3 which can possibly disrupt digestive function. The Australian grown varieties tend to be low in irritating alkaloids, however amounts vary between different forms of the plant, and alkaloid content can be reduced through rinsing before cooking. Essentially, if the lupin tastes super bitter, the alkaloid content is still quite high.

Give it a go!

Overall, having access to a grain with such a great nutrient profile that is grown locally is fabulous! Less carbon mileage for a whole food that leaves you feeling fuller for longer.

Being mild in taste, lupin can be extremely versatile! Lupin flakes or flour can be used in place of bread crumbs, in homemade muesli, or as a blended into gluten free or non-gluten free flours in many baked goods

We have been experimenting in the That Sugar kitchen, and here is a recipe to tantalise your lupin tastebuds – a Kingfish Gumbo!



  1. Belski, R, Mori, TA, Puddey, IB, Sipsas, S, Woodman, RJ, Ackland, TR, Beilin, LJ, Dove, ER, Carlyon, NB, Jayaseena, V, & Hodgson, JM 2011, ‘Effects of lupin-enriched foods on body composition and cardiovascular disease risk factors: a 12-month randomized controlled weight loss trial’, International Journal Of Obesity (2005), vol. 35, no. 6, pp. 810-819.
  2. Murray, M & Pizzorno, J 2013, Textbook of Natural Medicine, Churchill Livingston, St Louis, Missouri.
  3. Vaughn, J & Geissler, C 2009, The New Oxford Book of Food Plants, 2nd, Oxford University Press, Melbourne
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