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Are Chia Seeds allowed in the Paleo Diet?

by (20)
Updated about 22 hours ago
Created March 03, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Are Chia Seeds allowed In the paleo Diet?..They are high in Omega 3, Antioxidants, Fiber, and Protein..I eat mostly Vegan and very little Fish, and eggs. I am looking for substitutes for meat, would Chia suffice?

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1187 · July 18, 2012 at 3:23 AM

All seafood and derivatives: rash, hives, vomiting. With fish oil I get rash and a burning esophagus. Totally blows.

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244 · July 17, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Are you allergic to fatty fish as well? Or just the oil after it has been processed?

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7292 · July 17, 2012 at 5:04 AM

Most studies show conversion rates ranging from 4-20%.

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7292 · July 17, 2012 at 5:03 AM

I would subsitute meat with steak, chops, roasts, and legs. Those are the best meat substitutes.

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401 · May 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Why would you assume the answer to Barbara's question should be yes? It appears nearly everyone answered her question *and* provided data to back up their responses; I'm not sure why you would see that as a negative thing.

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41544 · March 04, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Rate of conversion varies based on need. When not consuming large amounts of DHA/EPA, ALA conversion pathways ramp up.

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793 · March 03, 2012 at 9:34 PM

Why thank you Shari :) A warning to Barbara and other veggie paleos - you might get slammed with a lot of negativity on here. A lot of us are former vegans/vegetarians who got really sick on that diet, and then got better once we went paleo, so I think a lot of us are angry at vegetarian diets and those who are vegetarian. Just try to understand that perspective when you get negative comments, and then ignore them completely :)

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24271 · March 03, 2012 at 9:11 PM

killerbee you are totally awesome!

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793 · March 03, 2012 at 9:08 PM

I actually feel really bad about my cheeky response - I'm trying to justify to myself the amount of meat I eat by being snarky to those that avoid it. I apologize Barbara! And welcome to Paleohacks!

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37187 · March 03, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Hey, while meat is great and nutritious a heavy bias toward fish is not a dietary crime. @Barbara, the fish and eggs are the quality nutrients compared to chia and make sure you go for "whole" plant-based foods. Here's another thread: http://paleohacks.com/questions/23282/whats-the-best-way-to-prepare-chia-seeds

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10265 · March 03, 2012 at 8:52 PM

good answer!...

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793 · March 03, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Yeah, I think you meant to ask "Are chia seeds allowed on the vegan diet?"

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11683 · March 03, 2012 at 8:32 PM

If you are looking for substitutes for meat, you're not eating the Paleo Diet.

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14 Answers

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15003 · March 03, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Chia seeds, like flax seeds, are high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Yes, that's an omega 3, but it's not the form of omega 3 that humans need (EPA or DHA). Your ability to convert from ALA to the other varies based on your age and gender ... in general, it's not a particularly high rate of conversion.

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10265 · March 03, 2012 at 8:52 PM

good answer!...

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41544 · March 04, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Rate of conversion varies based on need. When not consuming large amounts of DHA/EPA, ALA conversion pathways ramp up.

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7292 · July 17, 2012 at 5:04 AM

Most studies show conversion rates ranging from 4-20%.

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24271 · March 03, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Welcome Barbara. I don't think there is a substitute for meat but since you don't eat meat I guess you are looking for good protein sources? I oz of chia seeds is about 3 Tbsp dry. When hydrated that's a good bit more. This gives you 4.5g protein. You'd have to eat a whole lot of them to get a substantial amount of protein but if you go yogurt you could add them to that and certainly boost the protein from the dairy. It tastes really good this way too.

Are you to consider eating a bit more fish and eggs? If you don't eat dairy is that something you could possibly add?

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2913 · May 17, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Just remember that Cordain points out that chia seeds (like other fake grains) still contain their share of anti-nutrients, most especially saponins:

http://stephenson.typepad.com/train_with_nellie/2010/04/are-chia-seeds-ok-to-eat-on-the-paleo-diet.html

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4625 · March 04, 2012 at 12:16 AM

Good protein Bad protein. If you like the taste and texture Chia seeds give you then eat them, but they will not be a good substitute source for quality protein. Just because something claims to have all the essential proteins, in no way means they are a good source of them all.

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2240 · March 03, 2012 at 8:42 PM

You can eat them if you want, but why not just eat fish for omega-3s?

EDIT: How did I miss the part about eating vegan and little fish? Sorry about that. (derp.)

Okay then...I encourage you to eat MORE fish or supplement with CLO.

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5775 · May 27, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Can they be Paleo? Yes. Should they be on a Paleo diet? No. To me, a Paleo diet is not only about macros and food quality, but the ability to maximize these things with the best "bang for you buck" foods. Chia seeds do not fit this definition. In fact, on a grading scale of all Paleo foods, they would be at the very bottom.

High fiber, high Polyunsaturated Omega 3 in the form of ALA means a lot of possible problems by consuming even, even if there are benefits in the macro make up. While it's not usually fair to simply answer "yes" or "no" to whether a food is Paleo, if you can get the same things (or more) and avoid some of the pitfalls from consuming another food besides the one you are asking about, it's not Paleo.

Everything you can get from Chia seeds, you can get more of or better efficiency from other foods.

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41544 · March 04, 2012 at 4:50 PM

First look at their nutritional profile and what they have to offer:

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2

They are mostly fiber and fat, with a small amount of protein. Certainly doesn't look like something that you can get the bulk of your protein from. If you're a fiber fan, I supposed this could be a good source of fiber with additional nutrients. The fats appear to be surprisingly decent. High in PUFA, but a 3:1 ratio omega-3:omega-6. If you're looking for additional omega-3 in your diet, it's appears to be a valid source.

Decent levels of minerals to be had. The vitamin data looks to be missing though.

I'd say it's ok to consume. Its PUFA ratio puts it above other seeds/nuts in my mind. Is it something to base one's diet on? No, but some consumption wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

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78422 · August 05, 2012 at 11:50 AM

You will note that Paleo is a very subjective concept.

There is no Paleo law that you must follow on how you obtain your protein.

It's an outrageous notion that one must eat a variety of cooked meats 3 times a day - what paleolithic ancestor would have been able to indulge in such luxury?

Plant based protein would have been far easier to procure from grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and vegetables. Naturally, they would not have been processed in the way we find them today.

In respect to chia as a sole source of protein the limiting amino acid is lysine so for a vegetarian should complement with nuts and beans. You can also consider whey protein which has an excellent amino acid profile and is highly bioavailable.

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10 · May 27, 2012 at 8:23 PM

I agree that a seed's natural defenses make chia less than desirable, but... Can anyone inform (or speculate?) on the nutritional profile of SPROUTED chia? As anyone who has ever owned a "chia pet" can attest, the seed is easy to sprout. Sprouting the seed into a young plant seems like it might be a solution to fit it into a true "paleo" diet.

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10 · May 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM

wow, I only found one yes on here. They asked a yes no question, not for you to reconfigure their diet.

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401 · May 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Why would you assume the answer to Barbara's question should be yes? It appears nearly everyone answered her question *and* provided data to back up their responses; I'm not sure why you would see that as a negative thing.

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1626 · March 04, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Nuts and seeds can be nearly as problematic as grains. They are high in omega 6 and even though chia seeds are high in omega 3 its in the form of ALA. You said you eat fish so you are probably getting a sufficient amount of DHA and EPA (the omega 3 that our bodies can use).

Just avoid chia seeds. They are definitely not a healthy protein source. Just eat more fish and eggs!

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609 · August 05, 2012 at 10:29 AM

I eat sprouted chia seed, mainly for for omega 3's and that I have lots and lots leftover from my previous way of eating high carb (pasta, oats, beans etc). Won't buy anymore once it's gone.

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1187 · July 17, 2012 at 4:35 AM

I do the chia as I'm VERY allergic to fish oil. (you should see the rash. Did I mention the esophageal burn?) should I do something else?

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1187 · July 18, 2012 at 3:23 AM

All seafood and derivatives: rash, hives, vomiting. With fish oil I get rash and a burning esophagus. Totally blows.

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244 · July 17, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Are you allergic to fatty fish as well? Or just the oil after it has been processed?

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0 · July 17, 2012 at 2:48 AM

So then, can I ask the question. Are chia seeds allowed in the paleo diet? Thanks

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