Something as simple as two spoonfuls of ground flaxseeds a day has been shown to cause significant weight loss, take inches off our waists as well as a host of other health benefits.
As usual, we will likely never hear about this commercially because there is simply no financial incentives for corporate industries to market this information. In fact, it would be detrimental to their businesses!
Flaxseed w/ Lifestyle Changes VS Lifestyle Changes Alone
A study looking at the effects of flaxseed on metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions including obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes) found astonishing results in favour of the simple seeds.
What did they do and what did they find?
In a randomised controlled trial, a group of overweight individuals were assigned randomly into two groups with the following differences:
- One group would have lifestyle advice for weight loss alone.
- The other group would have lifestyle advice in addition to daily grounded flaxseeds (30grams) in their diets.
Lifestyle advice for both groups was identical and included recommendations to steadily increase their exercise as well as being given information brochures from health associations.
The findings at the end of the 12-week study were incredible. Though both groups had significant health benefits, compared to the Lifestyle-Only group, the Daily Flaxseed + Lifestyle group reduced their:
- Weight on average by 9.2 kgs (20.3 lbs) vs 3.15 kgs (6.9 lbs)
- Waist circumference by 9.5 cm (3.75inches) vs 3.25 cm (1.3inches)
- Triglyceride levels by 64.4 vs 10.6 mg/dL
- Cholesterol levels by 28.9 vs 13.9 mg/dL
- Fasting blood sugars by 6.4 vs 2.8 mg/dL
- Fasting insulin levels by 4.66 vs 0.96 mU/L
- Insulin resistance by 1.3 vs 0.32 (HOMA-IR)
There was also a higher rate of central obesity reversal in the Daily Flaxseed group by 36% vs 13%.
These results are despite the fact that the Daily Flaxseeds group was technically being given calories as a variable!
Reduces Inflammation & Illness
Another study performed in the same manner, with a different group of overweight subjects who unfortunately suffered from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), looked to see if daily ground flaxseeds could help in the treatment their illness. NAFLD is unfortunately on rise due to the obesity epidemic and is now the most common cause of liver disease in the world (up to 45%)
This study found almost identical results as above in all factors which is very important in the treatment of NAFLD. Astonishingly, there was also significantly greater improvements in their liver health with the Daily Flaxseed group also improving their:
- Liver functions derangements
- Liver fat scores
- Liver scarring score
- Inflammatory marker C-Reactive Protein by 2 ng/ml vs 1 ng/ml
- Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) by 1.3 pg/ml vs 0.14 pg/ml (TNF-a is involved in insulin resistance and liver inflammation)
Two Spoonfuls A Day
Just a small amount of grounded flaxseeds (30grams) daily can help us lose or maintain weight, reduce cholesterol levels, fight diabetes, reduce inflammation and improve liver health!
There are a number of ways that we can do this, such as:
- Adding ground flaxseed on cereal or oatmeal at breakfast
- Adding ground flaxseed to spreads
- Mixing flaxseed with our smoothies
- Adding ground flaxseed into our salad dressings
- Topping fruit and yogurt with ground flaxseed
- Using ground flaxseed to thicken sauces and soups
- Flax egg!!!
A key tip is to use ground flaxseeds as opposed to whole flaxseeds or flaxseed oils as this is specifically used in the aforementioned studies. Other studies using whole flaxseeds or flaxseed oils showed positive results in weight loss and positive body composition changes but were not as significant as when ground flaxseeds were used. This may be due to how they are digested but realistically it is not know why.
Fortunately grounded flaxseed meal is relatively inexpensive at most supermarkets. Otherwise, buying whole flaxseeds and grounding them ourselves is another simple option.
Keep In Mind
As always, we should keep in mind that a whole food plant-based lifestyle with regular exercise and mindfulness is the first priority in achieving our health and wellness goals. Adding or excluding specific foods may help us achieve our goals sooner but they should not be the focus of our approach!
- Vuksan V, Choleva L, Jovanovski E, et al. Comparison of flax (Linum usitatissimum) and Salba-chia (Salvia hispanica L.) seeds on postprandial glycemia and satiety in healthy individuals: a randomized, controlled, crossover study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2017;71(2):234‐238. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27151322/
- Yari Z, Rahimlou M, Poustchi H, Hekmatdoost A. Flaxseed Supplementation in Metabolic Syndrome Management: A Pilot Randomized, Open-labeled, Controlled Study. Phytother Res. 2016;30(8):1339‐1344. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27151322/
- Rinella ME. 2015. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a system- atic review. JAMA 313:2263–2273. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26057287
- Yari Z, Rahimlou M, Eslamparast T, Ebrahimi-Daryani N, Poustchi H, Hekmatdoost A. Flaxseed supplementation in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a pilot randomized, open labeled, controlled study. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2016;67(4):461‐469. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26983396/
- Mohammadi-Sartang M, Mazloom Z, Raeisi-Dehkordi H, Barati-Boldaji R, Bellissimo N, Totosy de Zepetnek JO. The effect of flaxseed supplementation on body weight and body composition: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 45 randomized placebo-controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2017;18(9):1096‐1107. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28635182/