Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chia/Salba vs. Ground Flax

I know that there are a lot of people that are confused about the nutritional difference between Chia/Salba seeds and ground flaxseed. I have been doing a bit of research and here is what I have come up with.

This is the nutritional profile comparison:

*Please note that the caloric difference between Flaxseed and Chia/Salba is due to the fact that Flaxseed has 1g of monounsaturated fat and .5g more protein than Chia/Salba. Please remember that monounsaturated fat is an EFA and is GOOD for you. In addition, it has been proven that a diet high in protein will keep you fuller longer.

As you look at this chart you should notice that Chia/Salba and Flaxseed have a very similar nutritional profile. They both contain similar amounts of Omega 3, 6, and 9 EFAs as well as fiber - the two main reasons most of us consume either product.

The main difference between the two is the price per serving. Here is a comparison of the price per serving of a couple different brands of Chia/Salba and ground flaxseed:

*It is best to purchase whole flaxseeds and grind them at home using a blender, magic bullet, coffee grinder (devoted to seed grinding), or food processor. Oftentimes, pre-ground flaxseed can become rancid in the store.

As you can see, the difference in price per serving between Salba and Bob's Red Mill Ground Flaxseed is $0.44 per serving, which adds up quickly. If you consume 1 serving per day, the difference is $13.20/month.

Also, remember that whole and ground flaxseed is available in the Bulk bins of most grocery retailers. There you can purchase Flaxseed for deep discounts. Chia/Salba is starting to pop up in the bulk bins of some retailers, but is still difficult to locate and more expensive than flaxseed.

Overall, if you are a budget-conscious shopper, Chia/Salba is not nutritionally worth the extra money. However, if budget is not a concern, I would recommend trying Chia/Salba seeds because they have a really cool texture when soaked in liquid.


Anonymous said...

I think it's only fair to point out that Salba is NOT the same as chia and the nutrition profile you have used for chia is actually lower in some areas that Salba is. In addition, you do not have to grind Salba to get the nutritional benefits where you do have to grind flax AND Salba has very minimal flavor so it can be incorporated into many more recipes. Salba is also only grown by one family of growers so you can literally trace every package back to the ground it was grown in. I'll take the nutritional consistency, higher nutrition (even slightly), and guaranteed quality of Salba over chia or flax any day. The peace of mind is well worth the extra few dollars a month.

Maria Peters said...

Anonymous... Unfortunately, the nutrition information that I posted for Chia/Salba was from the Salba site directly for the Whole Salba seeds. Also, my understanding from reading both the Salba and Renew Life sites, both Salba and Chia are both the salvia hispanica seed.

On a side note, yes, growing conditions can effect the nutritional profile of one seed to another, but this is the truth about all natural products... calories, fats, carbs, proteins, etc. all vary from one plant to another and is the reason that counting calories is such an inaccurate practice.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they are both from the salvia hispanica plant, but chia is the common name for more than one species of salvia. In addition, chia is a wild crop with many different strains all unregistered. Salba is two unique registered varieties of salvia hispanica.

My mistake on the nutrition, but if you will look at the nutrition facts from chia, you will see that they are lower specifically in omega-3 (~2.1g per 12g serving on average 2.4g specifically on ChiaLife).

I don't have a problem with the comparisons of Salba, chia, and flax, but just want to point out that Salba is different from chia.

If you Google "salba chia differences" (without the quotes) you will find other differences between the two plants.

However, your point that flax is less expensive per pound is a good point and personal preference plays a large role in the decision between the two. I personally like that my pre-ground Salba will last 12-18 months in the refrigerator without going rancid. And there are places out there that sell Salba at a lower price. I have actually seen it on the shelves for as low as $13.69 for a 12.7oz bag/30 servings or $0.45 per day - still considerably more than flax, but worth it for the shelf life and consistency.)

Kari@Onederland said...

wow. what a load of info. right now I use flax but maybe when money isn't such an issue I'll give the others a try.

The Future said...

There is no difference between salba and chia - except of course a ridiculous price difference and unsubstantiated nutritional claims.