Comparison of flax (Linum usitatissimum) and Salba-chia (Salvia hispanica L.) seeds on postprandial glycemia and satiety in healthy individuals: a randomized, controlled, crossover study

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2017 Feb;71(2):234-238. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2016.148. Epub 2016 Dec 21.


Background/objectives: Flax and Salba-chia seeds have risen in popularity owing to their favorable nutrient composition, including a high fiber content. Despite having comparable nutritional profiles, preliminary observations suggest differences in gelling properties, an attribute that may alter the kinetics of food digestion. Thus, we compared the effect of two seeds on postprandial glycemia and satiety scores.

Subjects/methods: Fifteen healthy participants (M/F: 5/10; age: 23.9±3 years; BMI: 22.2±0.8 kg/m2) were randomized to receive a 50 g glucose challenge, alone or supplemented with either 25 g ground Salba-chia or 31.5 g flax, on three separate occasions. Blood glucose samples and satiety ratings were collected at fasting and over 2-h postprandially. In addition, in vitro viscosity of the beverages was assessed utilizing standard rheological methodology.

Results: Both Salba-chia and flax reduced blood glucose area under the curve over 120 min by 82.5±19.7 mmol/l (P<0.001) and 60.0±19.7 mmol/l (P=0.014), respectively, relative to a glucose control. Salba-chia reduced peak glucose (-0.64±0.24 mmol/l; P=0.030) and increased time to peak (11.3±3.8 min; P=0.015) compared with flax. Salba-chia significantly reduced the mean ratings of desire to eat (-7±2 mm; P=0.005), prospective consumption (-7±2 mm; P=0.010) and overall appetite score (-6±2 mm; P=0.012), when compared with flax. The viscosity of Salba-chia, flax and control was 49.9, 2.5, and 0.002 Pa·s, respectively.

Conclusions: Despite the similarities in nutritional composition, Salba-chia appears to have the ability to convert glucose into a slow-release carbohydrate and affect satiety to a greater extent than flax, possibly due to the higher fiber viscosity. Incorporation of either flax or Salba-chia into the diet may be beneficial, although use of Salba-chia may confer additional benefit.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite / drug effects
  • Area Under Curve
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Fiber / pharmacology*
  • Fasting / blood
  • Female
  • Flax / chemistry*
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postprandial Period / drug effects*
  • Salvia / chemistry*
  • Satiation / drug effects*
  • Seeds / chemistry*
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fiber