Can you eat Chia Seeds on a Keto Diet?

  • Date: May 27, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

If you already love chia seeds, you’re not alone! Sales of chia seeds have been increasing year on year for nearly a decade. The question is, ‘Can you eat chia seeds on a keto diet?’, read on and we will take you through everything you need to know about chia seeds.

What are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are the seeds of the Mexican flowering plant, Salvia hispanica. This is a plant with a beautiful purple/ blue flower. It is a member of the mint family. The word “chia” is derived from the Nahuatl (Aztec) word chian, meaning oily, which references the omega 3 (fatty acids) which are contained in the seeds. [1]   Chia seeds are tiny spheres measuring around 1mm in diameter each. They can be bought as black chia seeds or white chia seeds.   When combined with a liquid, such as water or coconut milk, they form a gel called mucilage. This can be used as a thickener in keto recipes. It can also be used as a vegan alternative to eggs in recipes.  

What is the difference between black and white chia seeds?

White chia seeds are slightly bigger than their black counterparts. They are produced in a lower quantity than black seeds. From a nutritional point of view, there is very little difference between the two.

Black & White Chia Seeds

White chia seeds are more likely to be used in flour/ meal which can be used in keto baking. Whereas black chia seeds tend to be used in keto desserts. 

We will discuss the use of chia seeds in keto cooking further below.

What are the Health Benefits of Chia Seeds?

There is no wonder that chia seeds claim to be a superfood! Chia seeds have a number of health benefits. The main benefits are;

  • Full of Fiber
  • High in Calcium
  • High in Manganese
  • High in Magnesium
  • High in Phosphorus
  • Contain Antioxidants
  • Contain Vitamin B
  • Contain Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Contain Protein

As you can see there are a number of health benefits to chia seeds. With around 60% of their fat-containing omega 3, they can act as a fantastic, natural anti-inflammatory.

Side-effects to Eating Chia Seeds

Although there are numerous benefits to eating chia seeds, if you overeat them, there can be some side effects too.

Overeating can cause digestive issues, as you are effectively flooding your digestive system with fibre this can lead to constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and potentially gas. ?

This can also occur when people eat too many chia seeds and do not drink enough water. Keeping hydrated is essential to keep your bodily functions running smoothly.

How much chia is too much?

This is a difficult question to answer as everybody’s digestive system is different, and it will also depend on what other foods you have eaten that day.

The best thing to do is to start with eating one tablespoon of chia seeds in a day, and then building up from there. Most people are comfortable with around three tablespoons of chia a day. Just learn your bodies comfort spot.

How Many Net Carbs are there in Chia Seeds?

One tablespoon (approx 10g) of chia seeds contains 4.2 grams of carbs and 3.4 grams of fibre, meaning it has approximately 0.8 grams of net carbs per tablespoon serving.

Nutritional Values of Chia Seeds per 10g tablespoon

  • Carbs: 4.2 grams.
  • Protein: 1.7 gram.
  • Fat: 3.1 grams.
  • Fibre: 3.4 grams.
  • Sugar: 0 grams.
  • Calories: 49 cal

  Due to chia seeds being relatively high in fibre, their carb count is not as high as they may first appear. The carb count was taken in isolation often puts people off eating chia seeds on a keto diet, but as we have shown, there is no reason to avoid them.

Soluble Fibre

Soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance. Soluble fibre feeds the healthy bacteria that live naturally in our guts. Soluble fibre can help in reducing blood cholesterol. Furthermore, it can help improve and control blood sugar levels [1]

Insoluble Fibre

Insoluble fibre doesn’t dissolve in water. Instead, it attracts water into your stool, this makes it softer and therefore easier to pass, which can improve bowel health.

❓ So, can you Eat Chia Seeds on a Keto diet?

Yes! Chia seeds are a great choice if you are eating a keto diet. They are high in fibre which can help assist digestion and low in net carbs. Often keto diets are lacking in fibre, as it is more often found in high-carb foods.  

The combination of them being high in fibre and low in carbs makes chia seeds the perfect companion for a keto diet and you can easily keep within your macros.   When you have opened your chia seeds, ensure that they are stored in an airtight container. If no, the seeds will absorb moisture from the air and start to clump together. 

Can Eating Chia Seeds help you Lose Weight?

Studies have shown that eating soluble fibre helps lower blood sugar, which helps blood sugar regulation/insulin levels which can help with sugar cravings and therefore, help with weight management, and, in turn, weight loss.   Furthermore, as chia seeds absorb liquid, they can expand in your stomach, which can help you feel fuller for longer. As such they can assist in stopping you from overeating. Medical studies into the benefits of chia seeds on weight loss are still relatively new and there is no conclusive evidence one way or the other at the time of writing.   Why not try adding chia seeds to your keto diet and find out for yourself? Worst-case scenario, you’ll reap all of the health benefits!

Keto Recipes that use Chia Seeds

If you are seduced by all of the health benefits of chia seeds and want to incorporate them into your keto diet, here are a few suggestions;

As you can see, chia seeds can soon be added into or onto a dish to add taste and ore texture.

Final Thoughts ?

Chia seeds have a place in any well-balanced keto or low carb diet. Overall they are low in carbs, high in fat with moderate protein, making them perfect for a keto diet. More importantly, they are very versatile and can be turned into savoury or sweet dishes.

What is your favourite way to incorporate chia seeds into your keto diet? Let us know in the comments below so we can all learn! ???

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