On the ketogenic diet the goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. What about flaxseeds, are they keto-friendly?
Flaxseeds are seeds from the flax plant which are mainly cultivated in colder regions of the world. Fibers from the same plant are also used to make linen.
The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in flaxseeds is around 1.6 grams per 100 grams.
While it depends on the rest of your diet, for most people flaxseeds are very keto-friendly.
You may however want to exercise some portion control with flaxseeds anyway for reasons like fiber intake, calorie intake, and protein intake.
If you want to eat flaxseeds make sure you eat them in their grounded form so your body can absorb the nutrients in them.
When is a food keto-friendly
The goal of the ketogenic diet is to put your body into ketosis, a state where it starts mainly burning fat as a fuel (1). This comes down to more or less getting 55%-60% of your macronutrients from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates.
For most people this comes down to eating around 20g – 50g of carbohydrates a day.
In reality, this number is different depending on a lot of factors. For example, people who exercise a lot may be able to consume more carbohydrates before getting kicked out of ketosis.
That being said that daily amount can be a good general guideline.
It is also common to exclude fiber from this amount since it doesn’t get absorbed into your body the same way as regular carbohydrates.
Carbs in flaxseeds
100 grams of flaxseeds contains the following amounts of carbs (2):
- Total carbs: 28.9 grams
- Of which fiber: 27.3 grams
- Net carbs: 1.6 grams
While possible depending on the other foods in your diet, it is unlikely that the 1.6 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of flaxseeds are enough to kick you out of ketosis.
One tablespoon of ground flaxseeds is about 7 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:
- Total carbs: 2 grams
- Of which fiber: 1.9 grams
- Net carbs: 0.1 grams
In short flaxseeds can be a great option if you’re looking for keto-friendly foods. Whether or not flaxseeds are keto for you ultimately depends on your individual situation and the rest of your diet.
Other nutrients in flaxseeds
Other nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals also still matter on the ketogenic diet.
100 grams of flaxseeds contains the following nutrients (2):
- Calories: 534
- Protein: 18.3 grams
- Carbs: 28.9 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 27.3 grams
- Fat: 42.2 grams
- Manganese: 124% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Thiamin: 110% of the DV
- Magnesium: 98% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 64% of the DV
- Copper: 61% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.
Besides being low in net carbs, flaxseeds can also provide you with great amounts of valuable nutrients. A great combination for a ketogenic diet.
How to eat flaxseeds on keto
The first thing you want to know about eating flaxseeds on keto is that you generally want to ground them down before eating. If you do not do this your body has a hard time extracting nutrients from the whole flaxseeds.
Once you have these grounded flaxseeds you can add them to keto-friendly versions of dishes like soup, yogurt, salads, smoothies, baked goods, etc.
How to avoid eating too many flaxseeds
Even though big amounts of flaxseeds fit into your keto diet when it comes to net carbs, some people may have to exercise some portion control when it comes to flaxseeds for calorie, protein, or fiber intake anyway. Randomly eating flaxseeds whenever you feel like it hoping that you don’t eat too many is not the ideal way to do this.
You can avoid eating too many flaxseeds with some of the following tips:
- Plan ahead, how many flaxseeds will you eat?
- Put the planned amount in a bowl and leave the rest of the flaxseeds out of sight
- Don’t eat during other activities like watching TV
- Consider not buying them if you can’t control yourself
If you notice you are not losing or gaining weight even if you are in ketosis it is possible that you need to reduce the number of flaxseeds you eat.
What is your goal with keto?
Even in some cases, a small number of flaxseeds added to certain daily diets can potentially put you just over the net carbs border, out of ketosis. Depending on the goal you have with keto this may or may not be a problem.
If your goal is to stay strictly in ketosis 24/7 you want to be careful about your carbohydrate intake.
If your goal is to lose weight and become healthier, flaxseeds can be a good food option even if they potentially put you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level. That being said, if losing weight is your goal, keep in mind that flaxseeds contain a relatively high amount of calories.