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Carbohydrates, glycemic index and diabetes mellitus

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



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.


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.


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.


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.

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Salba Smart, Natural Products (Centennial, CO, USA) provided Salba-chia seeds. The results were partially presented as an abstract at Experimental Biology 2010 (The FASEB Journal. 2008;22:A148), supported by a travel grant received from Salba Corporation, Argentina.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to V Vuksan.

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Competing interests

V Vuksan acted as a consultant to Salba Corporation, Buena Aires, Argentina (2003–2006), Core Naturals, FL, USA (2007–2008) and received conference travel grants from Salba Smart Natural Products (2008&2010), LLC, Centennial, CO, USA and Source Salba Inc, Toronto, Canada (2008). V Vuksan holds an American (No. 7 326 404 B2) and Canadian (No. 2 410 556) patent for use of viscous fiber blend in diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cholesterol lowering; received a honorarium for scientific advice from InovoBiologic (Calgary, AB, Canada) the producer of viscous fiber blend PGX that is developed based on Vuksan’s patent. V Vuksan was VP and partial owner of Glycemic Index Laboratories (Toronto, ON., Canada) a contract research organization, (2004–2015). A Jenkins is VP and partial owner of Glycemic Index Laboratories (Toronto, ON., Canada) a clinical research organization. All other authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

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Vuksan, V., Choleva, L., Jovanovski, E. et al. 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 71, 234–238 (2017).

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