Flax Seeds: Whole Grains for Low-Carb Diets

Flax Seeds Nutritional Information, Glycemic Index, Calories, Protein

Whole flaxseeds with ground flax seeds
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Flax seeds are great whole grains for low-carb diets, as almost all the carbohydrate in them is fiber, so they won't affect your blood sugar. They are also packed with nutrients and have a mild, nutty taste that is welcomed to add texture and taste complexity to your meals that are primarily meat and veggies meals. It's worth finding ways to add them to your daily eating plan.

Here we help you with the best ways to add flax seeds into your low carb diet.

  • Garnish flax seeds across salads, spreads, soups and cheeses such as feta and cottage cheese.
  • Give low carb sauces a nutritional boost by adding ground flax seed to them
  • Add to water for hearty twist that will satisfy you a little more because of the added fiber

Varieties and How to Choose

Flax seed is available as whole seeds, ground or as flaxseed oil. Dietitians suggest eating ground flaxseed, rather than whole seeds, as it promotes better digestion as well as vitamin and mineral absorption. To choose the best whole seeds, make sure there's no paint-like smell to them. If there is, they are rancid and past their prime. The flip side of buying ground flaxseed is that it can turn rancid quicker as it's been "released" from the whole seed. For this reason, some people buy whole seeds and grind them at home. This ensures the freshest flax seeds are purchased and they are unlocked just before being eaten.


Did you know you should store ground flaxseed in the freezer? That's right, whole seeds can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container before they are ground at home. If you are grinding at home, be sure to only grind up as much as you need at a time. Any leftover can be transferred to the freezer.

The same goes for any pre-ground flaxseed meal; it gets the freeze treatment. In terms of flaxseed oil, it should be refrigerated and monitored to ensure it's not turned rancid. For more in-depth information about flax seeds (like recipes and serving suggestions), be sure to check out Flax Seed: The Low Carb Whole Grain.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts

Servings SizeNet CarbohydrateFiberCalories
1 tablespoon whole flax seeds0.2 gram effective (net) carbohydrate3 grams fiber55 calories
1 tablespoon flax seed meal (ground flax seeds)0.1 gram effective (net) carbohydrate2 grams fiber37 calories
1 ounce whole flax seeds0.5 grams effective (net) carbohydrate8 grams fiber150 calories

Glycemic Index for Flax Seeds

As with most nuts and seeds, there is no scientific study of the glycemic index of flax seeds. This is because there is so little starch or sugar in them.

Estimated Glycemic Load

Authorities estimate the glycemic load of flax seeds as zero.

Health Benefits

Flax seeds are an excellent source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Flax seeds are also good sources of thiamin, which is one of the nutrients that tends to drop in the diets of people cutting carbs. They are also a good source of magnesium, manganese, and copper.

Most of the fatty acids in chia seeds are omega-3 fats. They have also been shown to be high in antioxidant activity.

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Article Sources
  • USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26.