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Chia Seed Table: USDA Comparisons

If you’re trying to improve your diet and nutrition, one of the best foods you can introduce into your diet are chia seeds.

Chia seeds are known for their immense health benefits, including being high in essential fatty acids as well as being a good source of protein.

Chia Seed Table: USDA Comparisons

If you want more information about the nutritional content of chia seeds, the best place to start looking is the USDA website.

USDA stands for United States Department of Agriculture, and the website contains a nutritional database of thousands of food items, including black chia seeds.

However, chia seeds (see also “What Was The FDAs Ruling On Chia Seeds?“) actually come in two main varieties: black chia seeds and white chia seeds.

While these types of chia seeds are grown together and have almost identical nutritional profiles, it’s worth comparing these chia seed varieties if you want to be fully in control of your dietary choices.

In this guide, we’ll be comparing the nutritional information for black chia seeds as presented in the USDA database to the nutrients in white chia seeds, sourced from other websites.

This way, you can choose your chia seeds

Black Chia Seeds Nutritional Content (Per 100 Grams)

Energy513 Kcal
Carbohydrates        46.7 g
Fat (Total)33.3 g
Monounsaturated Fatty Acids3.33 g
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids26.7 g
ALA Omega 3 Fatty Acids20 g
Saturated Fatty Acids4 g
Fiber40 g
Protein20 g
Calcium533 mg
Magnesium373 mg
Iron6 mg
Sodium0 mg
Potassium600 mg
Phosphorus733 mg
Vitamin C0 mg
Vitamin A0 IU

Black And White Chia Seed Comparison

The USDA food database does not provide a nutritional table for the white variety of chia seeds.

That’s partly because most of the chia seeds you’ll find at grocery stores will be dark in color due to the gene for this variety being dominant, and partly because the nutritional profiles for black and white chia seeds are largely the same.

Many people are essentially tricked into thinking that white chia seeds must be more nutritionally beneficial, or at least of higher quality, than black chia seeds due to the fact that white chia seeds retail for a significantly higher price.

However, in reality, the only reason for this is that white chia seeds are rarer and manufacturers are able to charge more since buyers are drawn to the unusual color.

Any nutritional difference between white and black chia seeds will come down to protein and the amount of ALA Omega 3 fatty acids.

Depending on where and how the white chia seeds are grown, the difference in these nutrients compared to black chia seeds may be so small as to be difficult to record accurately.

With that being said, it’s worth noting that black chia seeds are often marginally higher in protein than white chia seeds, so if you’re looking to optimize your protein intake in every possible way, choosing black chia seeds over white may help you.

Black And White Chia Seed Comparison

However, again, this will be an incredibly small difference, so it’s not a very effective swap to make if your goal is to get more protein in your diet.

Similarly, choosing white chia seeds over black may mean you get a tiny bit more Omega 3 fatty acids, but the difference here is not always reliable and it’s so fractional that, once again, you would be better off looking for other ways to increase your consumption of these healthy fats.

What About Tan Chia Seeds?

We’ve mentioned that the main chia seed varieties are white and black chia seeds, but there’s actually a third color of chia seed you should know about.

You might find tan chia seeds in your local grocery store from time to time, but don’t be fooled into thinking that this ‘special’ coloring must come with added benefits.

In fact, you should probably avoid buying tan chia seeds.

The reason tan chia seeds are not as good as white or black chia seeds is because they’re not actually a separate variety, but simply immature seeds that have not developed to the point of having the full nutritional benefits of white or black seeds.

In fact, some of the tan seeds you might see labeled as chia seeds are not chia seeds at all! Sometimes, these seeds are actually from weed plants.

Basically, tan chia seeds are lower in protein, essential fatty acids, and micronutrients than other chia seed colors.

You’ll probably find tan chia seeds mixed into black or white chia seeds rather than packaged separately, so be sure to examine each pack of chia seeds carefully before handing over your money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Buy White Or Black Chia Seeds?

There is barely any nutritional difference between white and black chia seeds, except for extremely small differences in protein and ALA omega 3 fatty acids (white seeds are lower in the former and higher in the latter).

White seeds are more expensive, so you may want to stick to black chia seeds to save money and enjoy roughly the same nutritional benefits, but it’s totally up to you.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds come with a variety of health benefits, including improved digestion, better heart health, and lower cholesterol.

Because chia seeds are high in protein and fiber, they may help with weight loss and therefore reduce the risk of conditions such as diabetes.

Who Should Avoid Chia Seeds?

Anyone with a chia seed allergy should, of course, avoid chia seeds. People with high blood pressure or diabetes can experience negative side effects after consuming these seeds.

Also, everyone should avoid consuming an excessive amount of chia seeds since this can cause digestive issues.

Final Thoughts

According to information provided by the USDA, chia seeds are very nutritious, particularly when it comes to protein, dietary fiber, and ALA omega 3 fatty acids.

White and black chia seeds are almost nutritionally identical, but white seeds have more omega 3 and black seeds have slightly more protein.

Justin Roberts