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How To Eat Flax Seeds For Weight Loss? How It Aid Weight Loss 2022?

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Medically reviewed by Ramakrishnan, G., Ph.D

how to eat flax seeds for weight loss

More and more people are turning to natural supplements to help with weight loss, but how do we know which ones are effective? Can flaxseed be one supplement that actually works?

CBD and weight loss have been shown to have a connection. Now, from what we have found in our research, flaxseed has a similar connection to weight loss and many other benefits.

How Much Flaxseed Per Day to Lose Weight?

Whole flaxseed[1] has been determined to have the fullest benefits for losing weight. How much of these seeds are we supposed to eat anyway? 

Multiple studies have shown that 30g[2] of flaxseeds taken over 12 weeks is significantly effective for weight loss in people who begin the weight loss process overweight or obese.

It has specifically been found in a 45 trial meta-analysis[1] that those who began with a BMI greater than 27 kg/m2 and took a minimum of 30g of whole flaxseed per day over the course of at least 12 weeks found a significant reduction in body weight, waist circumference, and body composition. 

A separate study concurs with the meta-analysis results in regards to the efficacy of 30g of flax seeds per day for 12 weeks. However, it also highlights the importance of making a lifelong lifestyle change and taking lifestyle modification[2] advice from experts in order to see the best results.

Yet another study showed significant weight loss results with participants taking 100g[3] of flaxseed daily for a total of 60 days. Obviously, there are many dosages that could benefit you when adding this plant-based ingredient to your diet. If you are wondering how much is right for you to take, your best bet is to talk to your doctor before starting to take flaxseed as a supplement.

How It Helps?

Though it is small, flaxseed contains some healthy and essential mega-ingredients! These tiny seeds pack a big punch when it comes to being a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids (specifically ALA[4]), dietary fiber, antioxidants, protein, and lignans. 

As with most supplements, medical advice is to always drink plenty of water when adding flaxseeds to your diet to maximize effects and improve your health.

Flaxseeds contain specific compounds with properties that reduce inflammation, act as antioxidants, and regulate lipids within both human and animal species. (Kuang X, Kong Y, Hu X, et al., “Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health.” Nutrients, 2019 May 25)  

With those superpowers, flaxseed has many overall health benefits almost everyone can enjoy! 

Weight 

People who begin their journey with flaxseeds as overweight or obese have the best results in relation to weight loss. In several studies reviewed, including a meta-analysis[1], groups who took flaxseed lost more weight than any other type of control group. 

Flaxseed has proven more effective than psyllium[5], sunflower seed oil[6], and lifestyle modification[2] alone for losing weight. Making sure to use flaxseed in your foods will also help prevent weight gain. Watching calories and making sure to eat a protein-rich, fiber-loaded diet by adding flaxseeds can help you lose weight.

Body Mass Index 

BMI was improved in study participants both with and without Metabolic Syndrome[2]. In the meta-analysis study, BMI[1] was shown to be improved in groups of participants who took flaxseeds across the 45 randomized controlled trials. Your weight loss will likely be because you are losing fat. That, in turn, will lead to the improvement of your BMI, which can be a strong indicator of your overall health. 

Triglycerides 

Flaxseeds contain those powerful plant-based omega-3 fatty acids that go to work to protect your heart. The results of a second meta-analysis[7] show that triglyceride levels were improved after increasing flaxseed intake. These results are incredible because it means flaxseed may actually delay the onset of heart disease.

Cholesterol 

Those who struggle with being overweight or obese often have problems keeping cholesterol under control. In studies including a meta-analysis[7] of 62 randomized controlled trials, daily use of flax seeds was shown to improve LDL-C[7] (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), HDL-C[5] (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol), and TC (total cholesterol) levels. Flaxseed may help lower your cholesterol when you include it in a healthy diet.

Waist Circumference 

In a meta-analysis[1], both healthy participants and those with Metabolic Syndrome showed a decrease in waist circumference after taking flaxseed. For those who don’t measure weight loss success on a scale, you’ll see yourself becoming more healthy as you lose inches when you choose to add flaxseed to your dietary intake. With its lignans, protein, fiber, and essential fatty acids, flaxseed is a supercharged ingredient for dropping a pant size.

Specific Conditions Benefited

Several health conditions have been shown to benefit from the use of flaxseed. This list is not all-encompassing, but it does show the breadth of flaxseed’s effectiveness.

Heart Conditions 

Many studies are underway to find the cardiovascular[8] benefits of taking flaxseed. Research so far has found that flaxseed benefits cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which in turn can delay or reduce the risk of heart disease[7]

Digestive Conditions 

According to the Mayo Clinic, “People use flaxseed and flaxseed oil to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar and treat digestive conditions[9].” Flaxseed contains fiber and fatty acids that help people with digestive conditions lessen their symptoms. Flaxseeds outperformed psyllium’s level of benefit for those who suffer from constipation[5].

Inflammatory Diseases 

Because of its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antispasmodic properties, research says flaxseed “offers promising potential to be developed for IBD[10].”

Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver

A study[11] has shown fatty liver grade and IL-6 improvements in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease who consumed flaxseeds with their food.

Cancer 

The properties of flaxseeds have proven to induce apoptosis[12] in cancer cells, which leads to the potential for flaxseeds to be used as anti-cancer therapy! More studies are underway to confirm this, but one study[13] has proven flaxseed’s effectiveness in destroying breast cancer cells.

Type-2 Diabetes 

When compared to psyllium as a treatment for symptoms of Type-2 Diabetes[5], flaxseeds proved to be more beneficial for improving participants’ glycemic indices, lipid levels, and fasting plasma glucose readings. 

Metabolic Syndrome (MetS)

In studies looking for the effectiveness of flaxseed when used to treat people with Metabolic Syndrome, the percentage of participants with Metabolic Syndrome decreased 32%[2] more than the control group. The participants noticed a reduction in insulin resistance, body weight, waist circumference[6], and BMI that was significantly greater in the flaxseed group than the control group.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Those who began a study with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome[14] lost significantly higher amounts of weight after taking flaxseed than the control group.

How To Use It?

Now that you know all the superpowers hidden within this little seed, I am sure you are wondering how you can use it! Incorporating whole flax seeds, which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, other essential fatty acids, dietary fiber, lignans, and protein into your diet can be surprisingly easy.

One form of flaxseed is called partially defatted[15] flaxseed meal, in which some of the lipids have been removed. Flaxseed oil can be used in recipes, as can whole flaxseeds, when cooking. Whole flaxseeds can be ground up into what is called ground flaxseed or ground flax. Many people buy the flaxseeds whole at health food stores and use a coffee grinder to grind the seeds up fully, which makes it easy to add them to recipes you already love when starting your flaxseed supplementation. 

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website[9], “Flaxseed can be used whole or crushed, or in a powder form as meal or flour. Flaxseed oil is available in liquid and capsule form.” It would be easy to incorporate whole seeds, ground flaxseeds, or flaxseed oil into sauces, soups, or sprinkled on top of salads. You can get as creative as you want – it is your diet, after all!

Side Effects

Flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, ground flax, or any other form of flaxseeds are natural and healthy for most bodies. Of course, like anything we ingest, it could have side effects[9]. The good news, though, is that they can be easily resolved by talking with your doctor about what you are experiencing. Make sure to pay attention to your body and any allergic responses you may have to flaxseeds!

The Verdict

So, will it help you lose weight? According to our review, YES, flaxseed is most certainly beneficial for losing weight, among many other benefits, for those who are overweight or obese. Studies still need to be completed to discover more details about its benefits and long-term effects. However, it is safe to say that once you have cleared the use of flaxseeds as a dietary supplement with your doctor, you will be on your way to improving your health in a variety of systems within your body!


+ 15 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Mohammadi-Sartang, M., Mazloom, Z., Raeisi-Dehkordi, H., Barati-Boldaji, R., Bellissimo, N. and Totosy de Zepetnek, J.O. (2017). The effect of flaxseed supplementation on body weight and body composition: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 45 randomized placebo-controlled trials. Obesity Reviews, [online] 18(9), pp.1096–1107. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/obr.12550
  2. ‌Yari, Z., Rahimlou, M., Poustchi, H. and Hekmatdoost, A. (2016). Flaxseed Supplementation in Metabolic Syndrome Management: A Pilot Randomized, Open-labeled, Controlled Study. Phytotherapy Research, [online] 30(8), pp.1339–1344. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.5635
  3. ‌Kuang, X., Kong, Y., Hu, X., Li, K., Guo, X., Liu, C., Han, L. and Li, D. (2020). Defatted flaxseed flour improves weight loss and lipid profile in overweight and obese adults: a randomized controlled trial. Food & Function, [online] 11(9), pp.8237–8247. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32966475/
  4. ‌Rodriguez-Leyva, D., Bassett, C.M.C., McCullough, R. and Pierce, G.N. (2010). The cardiovascular effects of flaxseed and its omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, [online] 26(9), pp.489–496. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0828282X10704554
  5. ‌Soltanian, N. and Janghorbani, M. (2019). Effect of flaxseed or psyllium vs. placebo on management of constipation, weight, glycemia, and lipids: A randomized trial in constipated patients with type 2 diabetes. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, [online] 29, pp.41–48. Available at: https://clinicalnutritionespen.com/article/S2405-4577(18)30579-5/fulltext
  6. ‌Akrami, A., Nikaein, F., Babajafari, S., Faghih, S. and Yarmohammadi, H. (2018). Comparison of the effects of flaxseed oil and sunflower seed oil consumption on serum glucose, lipid profile, blood pressure, and lipid peroxidation in patients with metabolic syndrome. Journal of Clinical Lipidology, [online] 12(1), pp.70–77. Available at: https://www.lipidjournal.com/article/S1933-2874(17)30513-5/fulltext
  7. ‌Hadi, A., Askarpour, M., Salamat, S., Ghaedi, E., Symonds, M.E. and Miraghajani, M. (2020). Effect of flaxseed supplementation on lipid profile: An updated systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of sixty-two randomized controlled trials. Pharmacological Research, [online] 152, p.104622. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31899314/
  8. ‌Rodriguez-Leyva, D., Bassett, C.M.C., McCullough, R. and Pierce, G.N. (2010). The cardiovascular effects of flaxseed and its omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, [online] 26(9), pp.489–496. Available at: https://www.onlinecjc.ca/article/S0828-282X(10)70455-4/pdf
  9. ‌Mayo Clinic. (2020). Flaxseed and flaxseed oil. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-flaxseed-and-flaxseed-oil/art-20366457
  10. ‌Palla, A.H., Gilani, A.-H., Bashir, S. and Ur Rehman, N. (2020). Multiple Mechanisms of Flaxseed: Effectiveness in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, [online] 2020, pp.1–16. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7374215/
  11. ‌Rezaei, S., Sasani, M.R., Akhlaghi, M. and Kohanmoo, A. (2020). Flaxseed oil in the context of a weight loss programme ameliorates fatty liver grade in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomised double-blind controlled trial. British Journal of Nutrition, [online] 123(9), pp.994–1002. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31992372/
  12. ‌Buckner, A.L., Buckner, C.A., Montaut, S. and Lafrenie, R.M. (2019). Treatment with flaxseed oil induces apoptosis in cultured malignant cells. Heliyon, [online] 5(8), p.e02251. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6699425/
  13. Hu, T., Linghu, K., Huang, S., Battino, M., Georgiev, M.I., Zengin, G., Li, D., Deng, Y., Wang, Y.T. and Cao, H. (2019). Flaxseed extract induces apoptosis in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells. Food and Chemical Toxicology, [online] 127, pp.188–196. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30905866/
  14. ‌Haidari, F., Banaei-Jahromi, N., Zakerkish, M. and Ahmadi, K. (2020). The effects of flaxseed supplementation on metabolic status in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized open-labeled controlled clinical trial. Nutrition Journal, [online] 19(1). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6982376/
  15. Parikh, M., Maddaford, T.G., Austria, J.A., Aliani, M., Netticadan, T. and Pierce, G.N. (2019). Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health. Nutrients, [online] 11(5), p.1171. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567199/

Medically reviewed by:

Anna is a veteran teacher for students with special needs and has always had an affinity for the medical field. She has a Master of Education degree from Vanderbilt University and is a proud Nashvillian. She spends most of her time with her partner, chasing her blended family's 7 children and 3 pups.

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