An 8-inch flour tortilla typically contains around 24-30 grams of net carbs. The exact amount can vary depending on the brand and ingredients used. Flour tortillas are higher in carbs than corn tortillas because they are made from wheat flour rather than corn.
What Are Tortillas Made Of?
Tortillas are thin, flatbreads that originate from Mexico and are a staple ingredient in Mexican cuisine. They are made from either corn or wheat flour.
Corn tortillas are made from masa, which is a dough made from finely ground corn that has been nixtamalized. Nixtamalization is a process where the corn is cooked and soaked in an alkaline solution, usually limewater or slaked lime. This helps release the nutrition in the corn and gives the tortillas their distinctive flavor.
Flour tortillas are made from wheat flour, water, fat (usually shortening or lard), and salt. Some recipes may also include baking powder or other leavening agents to help the tortillas puff up as they cook. Flour tortillas have a softer and more pliable texture compared to corn.
Nutritional Differences Between Corn and Flour Tortillas
Corn and flour tortillas have some notable nutritional differences:
- Corn tortillas are lower in calories and carbs than flour. A 6-inch corn tortilla has around 50 calories and 10 grams of net carbs.
- Flour tortillas are higher in calories and carbs. A 6-inch flour tortilla can have 100-150 calories and around 20-30 grams of net carbs.
- Corn tortillas are higher in fiber. A 6-inch corn tortilla has around 2-3 grams of fiber.
- Flour tortillas contain little to no fiber. A 6-inch flour tortilla typically has 1 gram of fiber or less.
- Corn tortillas contain more minerals like magnesium and potassium.
- Flour tortillas are higher in B vitamins like folate due to being made from enriched wheat flour.
So in summary, corn tortillas are generally considered the healthier option for those watching their carb intake. But flour tortillas can work for some low carb diets in moderation.
Carb Counts in 8-Inch Flour Tortillas
Since flour tortillas vary in ingredients and size, the carb counts can range quite a bit between brands. Here are some approximate carb counts for common 8-inch flour tortillas:
|La Banderita Street Taco
As you can see, most mainstream brands of 8-inch flour tortillas contain around 30-35 grams of total carbs and 24-30 grams of net digestible carbs.
Some factors that can increase the carbs in flour tortillas include:
- Larger size – the bigger the tortilla, the more carbs.
- Added sugars – some brands add sugar or honey for flavor.
- Double tortillas – stacking two tortillas doubles the carbs.
- Thicker, fluffier tortillas – these often have more flour than thinner varieties.
On the flip side, factors that can reduce carbs are:
- Smaller size – 6-inch tortillas have fewer carbs than 8 or 10-inch.
- High-fiber varieties – brands with added wheat bran or other fibers.
- Thinner tortillas – less flour is used so carbs are lower.
- Low-carb tortilla options – these are made with fewer carbs.
How Many Carbs in Different Types of Tortillas?
For comparison, here are the average carb counts in some other popular tortilla sizes and types:
As shown, carb counts increase as the tortillas get larger, with 10-inch flour tortillas containing the most carbs. Corn and low-carb flour tortillas have significantly fewer digestible carbs in comparison.
Tips for Lowering Carbs in Tortillas
Here are some tips for reducing carb intake when eating tortillas:
- Choose corn or low-carb flour tortillas.
- Opt for smaller 6 to 8-inch sizes.
- Avoid thicker, fluffier tortillas.
- Stick to a single tortilla and avoid doubling them up.
- Fill your tortilla with non-starchy veggies to lower the overall carb percentage.
- Consider lettuce wraps or cabbage leaves as very low-carb alternatives.
- Look at the nutrition label and compare brands to find the lowest carb options.
With some carb-smart choices, tortillas can often still fit into a low-carb diet in moderation. Just be mindful of portion sizes.
Simple Low-Carb Tortilla Swaps
Here are some easy substitutions to make common tortilla-based foods lower in carbs:
- Use lettuce leaves instead of tortillas for fajitas or tacos.
- Opt for low-carb cheese taco shells instead of tortillas.
- Make a taco salad on a bed of greens rather than a tortilla bowl.
- For a wrap, choose a lower-carb lettuce leaf or high-fiber, low-carb wrap.
- Replace flour tortilla chips with low-carb nuts, veggies, or cheese crisps.
- Swap burritos for burrito bowls loaded with veggies, salsa, and guac.
With a little creativity, you can transform typically higher-carb tortilla foods into flavorful, low-carb meals.
Healthy Low-Carb Fillings for Tortillas
While the tortilla itself contains the bulk of the carbs, filling it wisely can help create a healthier low-carb meal. Here are some nutritious and delicious fillings to consider:
- Shredded chicken, beef, pork, or fish
- Beans, lentils, or tofu for vegetarian options
- Eggs or egg whites
- Cheese such as cheddar, queso fresco, feta or goat cheese
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
- Lettuce, spinach, kale, cabbage, endive leaves
- Tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini
- Jicama, radishes, turnip, spaghetti squash
- Avocado, olives, cucumber, pickles
- Olive oil, avocado oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole
- Hot sauce or chili peppers
- Fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, basil
- Spices like cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic
- Lemon or lime juice
Sticking with whole food, minimally processed low-carb ingredients ensures your tortilla wrap or taco bowl is nutritionally balanced.
Low-Carb Tortilla Recipe Ideas
Here are just a few tasty ideas for low-carb meals using tortillas:
- Breakfast burrito with eggs, cheese, avocado and salsa
- Chilaquiles – baked tortilla chips with scrambled eggs and red sauce
- Breakfast taco with bacon, egg and cheese
- Taco salad with taco meat, greens, cheese, beans, salsa, and guacamole
- Roasted veggie fajita wrap with peppers, onions and chicken
- Chipotle chicken lettuce wrap tacos
- Taco bar with seasoned meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese, guac and sour cream
- Chicken enchilada casserole with red sauce, black beans, and cheese
- Carnitas salad bowl with shredded pork, cabbage, avocado, and cotija cheese
- Cheese roll-ups with turkey and avocado
- Chips and guacamole
- Quesadilla with chicken, cheese, and sautéed peppers
There are endless tasty options for enjoying tortillas while maintaining a low-carb diet. Get creative with carb-conscious fillings!
Low-Carb Tortilla Brands to Try
Many companies now offer lower carb tortilla options:
- Mission Carb Balance – 6g net carbs (8 inch)
- Tumaro’s Low in Carbs – 8g net carbs (8 inch)
- La Tortilla Factory Low Carb – 9g net carbs (8 inch)
- Ole Xtreme Wellness – 5g net carbs (8 inch)
- Calidad Corn – 2g net carbs (6 inch)
- Mission Super Soft – 3g net carbs (6 inch)
- Food For Life Sprouted Corn – 5g net carbs (6 inch)
- Linwood’s Cauliflower – 4g net carbs (8 inch)
- La Tortilla Factory Cassava & Chia – 11g net carbs (8 inch)
- Tumaro’s Sweet Potato – 13g net carbs (8 inch)
Shop around to compare nutrition labels and find the lowest carb tortilla options that work for your diet. Consider purchasing online if local stores don’t offer many low-carb varieties.
Should You Avoid Tortillas on a Low-Carb Diet?
Tortillas are certainly higher in carbs than other bread options. But they don’t necessarily need to be avoided entirely on a low-carb diet. Here are some factors to consider:
- Net carb counts – Look for lower carb varieties with plenty of fiber to subtract from total carbs.
- Portion sizes – A single 6 to 8-inch tortilla is OK for most low-carb diets in moderation.
- Making it count – If going to eat a tortilla, make it worthwhile by loading with veggies and protein.
- Frequency – Don’t overdo tortilla intake. Use them for occasional tacos or fajitas rather than daily sandwiches.
- Carb limit – The stricter your carb target, the more cautious you’ll need to be about tortillas.
Overall, an occasional tortilla can work for many carb-conscious diets. Just pay attention to portions and fill it wisely!
An 8-inch flour tortilla can contain 24-30 grams of net digestible carbs, depending on the brand. This puts it at the higher end for carb counts compared to other breads. However, by choosing smaller sizes, lower-carb varieties, and keeping portions in check, tortillas can still be enjoyed in moderation on a low-carb diet. Fill your tortilla thoughtfully with veggies, proteins and healthy fats to maximize nutrition. And consider lettuce or cheese shells for even lower carb tortilla alternatives. With some adjustments, tortilla lovers can find room for occasional tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more even when reducing carbs.