Seeds are often good for ketogenic diets but there are exceptions. Find out whether chia seeds are keto-friendly and in what amounts.
Dried chia seeds contain around 7.7 grams of net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber) per 100 grams.
At first, 7.7 grams of net carbohydrates may not sound that keto-friendly.
However, something to note is that dried chia seeds absorb a lot of fluid from their surroundings. Because of this, you typically combine them with fluids which reduces the carbs per 100 grams of the mix.
Additionally, the 100 grams above also come with 34.4 grams of fiber which reduces to what extent the carbohydrates raise your blood sugar.
In simpler words, while there are exceptional situations, chia seeds tend to be keto-friendly.
Some of the more low-carb ways to eat them include chia pudding (with the right ingredients), on top of salads, in soup, on top of yogurt, and in keto-friendly baked goods.
Carbs in chia seeds
How many carbohydrates there are in chia seeds plays an important role in whether they are keto-friendly in your situation and in what amounts.
100 grams of dried chia seeds contain the following amounts of carbs (1):
- Total carbs: 42.1 grams
- Of which fiber: 34.4 grams
- Net carbs: 7.7 grams
7.7 grams of net carbs is often enough to say that a food is generally not that great for ketogenic diets.
However, chia seeds are a keto-friendly exception for a few reasons.
First of all, chia seeds will absorb a lot of fluid. This means you typically eat them in combination with fluids or fluid-rich foods. In turn, the entire mix is then often lower in carbs per 100 grams.
Additionally, the high amount of fiber in chia seeds reduces to what extent the carbs raise your blood sugar. This again makes these seeds somewhat more keto-friendly.
One tablespoon of dried chia seeds is about 10.2 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:
- Total carbs: 4.3 grams
- Of which fiber: 3.5 grams
- Net carbs: 0.8 grams
Most people will find a tablespoon of chia seeds a more reasonable portion. In turn, this food will often (but not always) be keto-friendly.
Other nutrition information chia seeds
It is easy to fall into the trap of only focusing on carbohydrates when following a ketogenic diet.
While these are still important, other nutrients like fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals influence whether you will stay in ketosis and your general health too.
100 grams of dried chia seeds contain the following nutrients (1):
- Calories: 486
- Protein: 16.5 grams
- Carbs: 42.1 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 34.4 grams
- Fat: 30.7 grams
- Phosphorus: 86% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Magnesium: 84% of the DV
- Calcium: 63% of the DV
- Copper: 46% of the DV
- Zinc: 31% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.
Chia seeds are not just reasonable in terms of how many net carbs they contain. You can also get a variety of valuable nutrients in great amounts from this food.
This makes chia seeds worth considering if you want to follow a healthy ketogenic diet. Even if you don’t necessarily love their taste.
Why chia seeds are not always allowed in a keto diet
Something important to keep in mind is that even the small amounts of carbs in relatively keto-friendly foods like chia seeds can sometimes kick you out of ketosis.
Quickly going over the ketogenic diet basics can help you understand why this can be the case and how to avoid it.
To get into this state, you need to keep your carbohydrate consumption below a certain level. Where this level is can vary between individuals due to details like weight, body composition, genes, and movement habits.
That being said, there are still imperfect general guidelines to help you get somewhat of an idea of how many grams of chia seeds would fit into your ketogenic diet.
A typical guideline is that you want to eat around 55%-60% of your calories in fat, 30%-35% in protein, and 5%-10% in carbohydrates to get and stay in ketosis.
If you apply these ratios to your calorie intake, you will likely get that you can eat about 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates a day.
At first, this may sound bad for chia seeds because their total carb count is so high. However, you typically don’t include the fiber in these amounts because your body processes it in more keto-friendly ways.
How many chia seeds can you eat on keto?
By using the ratios above and counting how many carbs the other foods you eat contain, you can figure out how many grams of chia seeds you can eat on keto.
As an example, let’s say you conclude that you can eat around 20 grams of net carbohydrates without getting kicked out of ketosis.
Additionally, you already ate 18.4 grams of net carbohydrates.
In that case, your rough estimation would be that you can still eat around 20 grams of dried chia seeds on keto.
It is worth noting again that these ratios are not perfect for every individual. Ideally, you would have a way to actually measure your ketone levels.
Benefits of chia seeds on keto
By now you know that you can likely eat nice amounts of chia seeds on keto. You may also wonder what the benefits of doing this are. Some examples include:
- Helps you feel fuller: The extra fiber and protein in chia seeds are great for reducing hunger.
- Can help you build and preserve muscle: Consuming enough protein is important for building and preserving muscle. While there are better foods for this, chia seeds do help a nice amount too.
- Can reduce blood sugar spikes: The fiber in chia seeds can reduce to what extent the carbohydrates in foods you combine them with raise your blood sugar.
- Chia seeds could help you lose weight: While chia seeds do contain a good amount of calories, their filling aspect makes it so they will often be beneficial for weight loss.
- Helps you hit your vitamin and mineral goals: Chia seeds contain nice amounts of vitamins and minerals. These tend to be helpful for improving your health in a variety of areas.
Chia seeds alone are not always enough to get these benefits to the full extent. That being said, these reasons do potentially make them a good food option for ketogenic diets.
How to eat chia seeds on keto
Even if you realize the benefits of chia seeds on keto, you may not know how to eat more of them. Just eating spoonfuls of dried chia seeds is definitely not recommended.
Instead, try some of the following chia seed recipes on keto:
- Chia pudding (with water, milk, and/or coconut milk)
- In soup
- On yogurt
- On salads
- In fat bombs
- In keto-friendly baked goods
For some of these ways to eat chia seeds on keto, you do want to keep other details in mind too.
As an example, people who are trying to lose weight do not want to overdo it with fat bombs that include chia seeds.
Why do you want to stay in ketosis?
There are situations where the small amounts of net carbs in chia seeds can kick you out of ketosis.
Whether this is an issue and to what extent depends on your goals with this way of eating.
For example, there are individuals who need/want to stay in ketosis 24/7. If you are in this category, you can likely still consider chia seeds but you may need to pay attention to portion sizes.
On the other hand, even if they would kick you out of ketosis, chia seeds can be decent/good for weight loss and good for health.
Ketogenic diets can be useful for these health goals but there are typically other ways to achieve them too.
Are chia seeds zero net carbs?
Chia seeds are not zero net carbs. Even if you consider the big amounts of fiber, 100 grams of dried chia seeds still contain 7.7 grams of net carbohydrates.
Do chia seeds break ketosis?
Whether chia seeds kick you out of ketosis depends on details like your body, the other things you ate, and your portion sizes. That being said, chia seeds will often not break ketosis.
Are chia seeds good for a low-carb diet?
Dried chia seeds contain around 7.7 grams of net carbs per 100 grams. In combination with the fluid absorption and high amount of fiber, this makes chia seeds decent/good for a low-carb diet.