6 Best Seeds for Weight Loss (According to a Dietician)

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: January 27, 2024
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One of my responsibilities as a fitness trainer is to assist my clients in choosing healthier snacks as part of their meal plans.

Seeds are one of the superfoods I like to recommend because they are easy to consume during workouts.

In fact, I've been using them in smoothies and baked snacks to help me control my weight for many years.

To better advise my clients on the best seeds to help them lose weight, I did a week of research and examined the scientific literature with a dietician.

Let’s dive in.

Quick Summary

  • Incorporating seeds like chia, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, flax, and sesame into your diet can significantly aid in weight loss due to their high fiber and protein content.
  • These seeds not only help in weight management but also offer health benefits like reducing cholesterol levels and lowering the risk of heart disease.
  • Research from the Annals of Internal Medicine website suggests that increasing fiber intake to 30 grams per day, as achievable with these seeds, can help reduce body weight by promoting fullness and reducing calorie intake.
  • From my personal experience as a fitness trainer, I've found that these seeds, when combined with regular exercise and a balanced diet, can be highly effective for weight loss.

Six Seeds That Help With Weight Loss

A person measuring her waist

During my research, I discovered six nutrient powerhouses that can offer weight loss benefits along with helping you increase metabolism, curb appetite, and gain lean muscle mass.

Let’s get into the best seeds for weight loss.

1. Chia Seeds

Based on my experience, chia seeds can help people reduce excess pounds because they contain vitamins that burn belly fat which include essential nutrients such as vitamin B and vitamin E, minerals, and high amounts of fiber [1].

According to research, increasing fiber intake to 30 grams per day can help your body slim down by keeping you full longer and making you eat less [2] [3].

Mixing one to two tablespoons of chia seeds with water and drinking it in the morning can help you lose weight as it can boost digestion and improve bowel movements.

"High in calcium, chia seeds are full of health benefits, including giving you an impressive amount of antioxidants and a boost against bone loss."

- Lacey Baier, Lifestyle Coach

2. Pumpkin Seeds

Close up shot of pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds, on the other hand, are packed with minerals, including zinc, which is necessary for proper enzymatic activities that regulate metabolism in the body, according to one of the studies found on the PubMed website [4].

Research from the MedicalNewsToday website suggests that consuming two tablespoons or one ounce of pumpkin seeds may provide around 20 percent of your daily recommended zinc intake [5].

Pumpkin seeds, rich in iron, provide 9.52 mg per cup, contributing significantly to the daily iron needs of 18 mg for premenopausal women and 8 mg for others, making them a valuable addition to a weight loss diet.

Snacking on pumpkin seeds on their own in between your gym or home workouts can be an excellent way to consume them, but be reminded to take only a handful to avoid bloating.

3. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are good for weight loss because they are rich in selenium, a trace mineral that helps produce thyroid hormones for healthy metabolism [6].

According to one study, increasing dietary selenium intake by one mcg per kg of body weight per day resulted in a three to six percent reduction in body fat [7].

When buying raw sunflower seeds to lose weight fast, look for the label and choose the product with less sodium.

This way, you prevent increasing fluid retention and weight gain [8].

4. Hemp Seeds

Close up shot of hemp seeds

Hemp seeds are a good source of soluble fiber and proteins that are naturally slower to digest, thus increasing satiety [9].

The good news is that hemp seeds are similar to nuts and grains in terms of protein digestibility.

As a result, they are filling but are less likely to cause abdominal discomfort [10].

In the morning, you can get 20 grams of protein and eat less throughout the day by toasting four tablespoons of this superfood on a pan to add to shakes or by making hemp milk.

5. Sesame Seeds

Like most of the seeds on the list, sesame seeds also contain high amounts of fiber and protein to help lose weight.

This kind of seed is an excellent choice for snacking to lose excess pounds.

Moreover, researchers found that sesame seeds contain high levels of linoleic acid, a type of fatty acid that significantly increases fat breakdown and muscle gains [11]. 

Sesame seeds kickstart your metabolic rate in a variety of ways, including sprinkling them on salad dressings and sandwiches for breakfast or snacks.

6. Flax Seeds

Lastly, flax seeds contain significant amounts of dietary fiber, essential amino acids, and antioxidant-rich compounds called lignans [12].

Flaxseeds, containing 9–30 mg of lignans per gram, are highly recommended for weight loss due to their exceptional health benefits.

"Lignans are a polyphenol, which is a type of antioxidant. While lignans are in other plant sources, flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods."

- Kate Patton, Registered Dietician

Researchers found that dietary polyphenols play a key role in weight loss by curbing appetite, lowering fat accumulation, and increasing lipid metabolism [13].

In my experience, I recommend consuming about two to four tablespoons of these healthy seeds daily by sprinkling them on water, yogurt, or homemade smoothies.

Are There Any Other Benefits??

A person with drawn weight loss lines on her body

Yes, eating seeds rich in monounsaturated fat has other health benefits, including cancer prevention, reducing cholesterol levels, and lowering the risks of heart disease [14].

Furthermore, they are high in manganese, copper, and selenium, which are essential to reduce inflammation and produce enzymes that allow thyroid hormones to function properly [15].

Healthy levels of well-functioning hormones can put you in better sleep, sexual function, and good mood, which can contribute to stronger immunity and better health.

Can They Cause Adverse Effects?

Even though seeds appear small and are only one part of a more extensive diet, eating too much can cause adverse effects such as problems with the digestive system.

A weight loss diet high in seeds can result in excessive fiber intake, which can increase bowel movements, stomach upset, and bloating [16].

Aside from that, some people may experience allergic reactions and irregular blood sugar and blood pressure levels, which is why seeds are recommended in small amounts [17].

FAQs

Are Seeds Good for Losing Weight?

Seeds are good for losing weight because they are rich in fiber, protein, and essential minerals for maintaining normal body functions.

They help control your appetite, make your hormones work properly, and increase your metabolic rate.

How Many Seeds Should I Eat a Day to Lose Weight?

The standard recommendation is to eat an ounce or about two tablespoons of seeds per day to lose weight [18].

Taking an ounce of seeds daily can provide you with ten grams of fiber, which can help you eat less and burn more calories.

What Is the Historical Significance of Seeds in Traditional Diets?

Seeds have been a staple in traditional diets across various cultures for centuries, valued for their dense nutritional content and health benefits. They have been used not only as a food source but also for medicinal purposes, highlighting their importance in both nutrition and traditional healing practices.

How Do Seed-Based Diets Compare to Other Weight Loss Diets?

Seed-based diets often compare favorably to other weight loss diets due to their high nutrient density and ability to promote satiety without excessive calorie intake. They are particularly effective in providing essential nutrients while still supporting a calorie deficit, which is crucial for weight loss.

Can You Share Any Personal Testimonials or Case Studies of Weight Loss Success with Seeds?

There are many personal testimonials and case studies where individuals have successfully incorporated seeds like chia, flax, and pumpkin into their diet for weight loss. These stories often highlight improved satiety, better digestion, and overall enhanced well-being alongside weight loss.

Do You Have Any Tasty Recipes That Incorporate Weight Loss-Friendly Seeds?

Absolutely, numerous delicious recipes incorporate weight loss-friendly seeds, ranging from smoothies and salads to baked goods. These recipes not only make it easy to include seeds in your diet but also add variety and flavor to your weight loss journey.


References:

  1. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/chia-seeds/
  2. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M14-0611?articleid=2118594
  3. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41430-018-0295-7
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24506795/
  5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/303864
  6. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4728638/
  8. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/does-sodium-make-you-fat
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33493023/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20977230/
  11. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-015-0097-4
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4517353/
  13. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666833520300022
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3745769/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32480050/
  16. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321286
  17. https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-allergy/peanut-tree-nut-and-seed-allergy
  18. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/dash-diet/art-20050989
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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