Substituting ingredients to accommodate allergies and intolerances may have other implications. For instance, gluten free products may not be as nutritious because wholesome ingredients are often replaced with starches that are broken down by the digestive system into sugars, thus stored as fat, if not used as energy. It is possible to produce good and nutritious products to accommodate most diets but it requires re-developing baking formulas. Psyllium powder (high absorption rate), carob flour and mesquite flour are high in dietary fibres. Carob flour is suitable to replace cocoa powder and is a preferred ingredient in vegan baking or cooking. Chia and flax seeds contain omega-3 fats, are high in fibre, and provide good binding and absorption qualities. Eggs, although not desired in low cholesterol diets, have essential amino acids and provide structure, support binding, and contribute to volume. Butter is used to aim for rich and tender products and can be replaced with various plant or vegetable oils for vegan friendly baking. Nut flours consisting of hazelnut, macadamia, cashew, and walnut are excellent sources if high protein and complex fibre products are desired, but these flours typically have higher fat content. Other ingredients that are high in calcium are almonds, Brazil nuts, various bean, and lentil flours as well as flax and teff. Fruit and berries, dry or fresh, are great alternatives to sugars and some have significant amounts of antioxidants. These ingredients and various seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, and numerous low fat nuts enhance the nutritious value of wholesome products.
Many Canadians suffer from milk allergies and are lactose intolerant. According to the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation more than 7 million are affected. People with lactose intolerance need to follow a lactose-restricted diet. Instead of butter, several nut butters such as almond or seed butters. including pumpkin or tahini (made from sesame seeds), can be used. Instead of using milk, numerous non-dairy milks lend themselves well to baking. Applesauce, mashed bananas, and soft tofu are good replacements for yogurt in baking.
People who have allergies to either egg yolks or egg whites, or both, follow egg-free diets. Soy emulsifiers are suitable for replacing egg yolks. Powders made from soy and methylcellulose are suitable for whipping and are a good replacement for eggs. They can be used with water in genoise or cake batters. Since eggs have leavening properties and egg yolks contain fat and emulsifiers, leavening agents and fats need to be added to certain baking formulas. Many nutritious egg-free products can be made without eggs. These include granola bars, slices and squares, and desserts that are fruit based.