Are Sunflower Seeds Keto Friendly?

Food is essential in your life as it is directly connected with your health. You take food according to your choice. There are different types of foods that you prefer for your keto diet.

Seeds are one type of food. Sunflower seeds are one of them.

I must say, sunflower seeds are fantastic to taste. I used to take it as a snack. I can guarantee you will also like it.

However, you may be worried about your keto diet as you are here. Wondering about “are sunflower seeds keto friendly?”

Do not worry. In this article, I will give you the answers you may be wondering. So, keep reading the article.

are sunflower seeds keto friendly

What Exactly Is Keto Diet?

The ketogenic diet is also known as the keto diet. It is a high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein diet.

If you want to lose weight, you can apply a keto diet. Additionally, a keto diet will help you maintain your nutritional requirements.

Some keto friendly foods high in fats are particular types of cheese, dark chocolate, and seeds. sunflower seeds are one of them.

This keto diet works by reducing your carbohydrate level. In the place of carbohydrates, it adds healthy fat.

When Does A Food Become Keto Friendly?

when does a food become keto friendly

The motive of a ketogenic diet is to get your body into ketosis. In ketosis, fat burns as a primary fuel. It means 70% from fat, 20% from protein, and 5% from carbohydrates.

For most people, carbohydrates intake is 20 to 50 grams each day. However, this amount varies based on some factors.

If I give an example, I can say that people who exercise frequently may be able to take in more carbohydrates.

On the other hand, fiber is often left out of this calculation. It is because it does not absorb the way other nutrients do.

What Are Exactly Sunflower Seeds?

The seeds of sunflowers are called sunflower seeds. You can get sunflower seeds from the giant flower heads of sunflowers.

You can get 1000 to 2000 sunflower seeds from one flowerhead. Sunflower seeds come in three varieties: linoleic, high oleic, and sunflower oil.

what are exactly sunflower seeds

One type of sunflower is used to make sunflower oil. The other two kinds of sunflower are used to harvest seeds that you can eat.

You can find sunflower seeds inside a shell. The first type of sunflower used to make oil has a black shell. The other two types of sunflower, from which we get sunflower seeds, have black and white shells.

The sunflower has a nutty flavor. You can increase the nutty flavor by salting, roasting, or drying.

The History Of The Sunflower And Sunflower Seeds

Now you know that sunflower seeds are the fruit of the sunflower plant. The scientific name of the sunflower is Helianthus Annuus.

Sunflower seeds have been used as food in North America for over three thousand years. The region of North America, where it has been eaten as food, is now known as New Mexico and Arizona.

the history of the sunflower and sunflower seeds

In the 1500s, Spanish explorers introduced the sunflower to Europe. In the 1800s, the sunflower became a popular plant in Europe. Eventually, it was commercially grown in Russia.

The majority of the sunflowers are now grown in North America. In addition, they used the Russian variety of sunflower in cultivation.

Difference Between Sunflower Seeds And Sunflower Kernels

You might have come across these two slightly different words, such as sunflower seeds and sunflower kernels. Yes, there is a minor distinction.

difference between sunflower seeds and sunflower kernels

Sunflower kernels are the ‘meat’ that you get from the seed. On the other hand, sunflower seed is simply the seed from which you got the meat or kernel. To get the ‘meat’ of the sunflower seed, you have to break the shell.

In both cases, the texture and nutritional content will be the same. Please remember that the words- sunflower seeds and sunflower kernels are sometimes used interchangeably in grocery stores.

Carbohydrates In Sunflower Seeds

You know that keto is a low-carb diet. So, you have to think about carbohydrates in sunflower seeds and “are sunflower seeds keto friendly?” The net carbs of sunflower seeds, in various serving size, is given below:

  • Firstly, per 30 grams, or ¼ cup, or 1 ounce of sunflower seeds, have 6.5 grams of total carbohydrate and 3 grams of fiber. So, the net carb is 3.5 grams.
  • Secondly, per 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of sunflower seeds have 20 grams of total carbohydrate and 9 grams of fiber. So, the net carb is 11 grams.
  • Thirdly, per ½ cup or 4 ounces of sunflower seeds have 14 grams of total carbohydrate and 6.3 grams of fiber. So, the net carbohydrate is 7.7 grams.
  • Lastly, per 1 tablespoon or 8.8 grams of sunflower seeds, have 2 grams of total carbohydrate and 1 gram of fiber. So, the net carb is 1 gram.

On the other hand, sunflower seeds are high in insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is a type of carbohydrate.

Your body does not digest this fiber. Moreover, it might create inflammation and irritation in your intestines.

Nutritional Value Of Sunflower Seeds

nutritional value of sunflower seeds

In this section, I will discuss the nutritional facts of sunflower seeds. Like other food and fruits, sunflower seeds also have some nutritional value.

Sunflower seeds are low in carbs, but they have a lot of nutrients. They are high in magnesium, selenium, copper, several B vitamins, and vitamin E. The complete nutritional information is given below:

The macronutrients of sunflower seeds, per ½ cup or 4 ounces, are:

  • Calorie: 423 kcal
  • Fat: 35.8 grams
  • Carbohydrate: 14 grams
  • Fiber: 6.3 grams
  • Net carbs: 7.7 grams
  • Protein: 14.8 grams

Moreover, sunflower seeds have some essential micronutrients as well. The micronutrients of sunflower seeds are given below.

The vitamins are:

  • Vitamin B1 or Thiamine–88%
  • Vitamin B2–18%
  • Vitamin B3 or Niacin–38%
  • Vitamin B5–17%
  • Vitamin B6–73%
  • Vitamin E–165%

The minerals are:

  • Iron–21%
  • Selenium–67%
  • Copper–140%
  • Potassium–12%
  • Phosphorus–45%
  • Magnesium–60%
  • Zinc–28%

Deeper Description Of Some Rich Nutrients

You have seen that sunflower seeds have numerous vitamins and minerals. However, some nutrients are rich in their amount. Additionally, those nutrients are helpful for the keto diet.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is made up of eight fat-soluble compounds. Those groups of compounds have strong antioxidant properties.

Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E. This vitamin E is ideal for those who need high antioxidants. Those people might be athletes or those on high-carb diets.


Selenium is necessary for reproduction. It is vital for cellular division and DNA synthesis on the micro-level. On the contrary, it is crucial for reproductive health on the macro-level.


Niacin is also known as vitamin B3. It helps in DNA repair and synthesis. It also helps in increasing metabolic activities.

In addition, this increased metabolic activity helps reduce bad cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Moreover, Niacin works with vitamin B6.

Working together with vitamin B6, it helps in producing nootropic hormones. These nootropic hormones improve memory by acting as a brain booster.


Sunflower seeds do not contain heme iron. Yet, they are a rich source of non-heme iron from plants. This iron in sunflower seeds may help prevent anemia and ensure that your body is well oxygenated.  

Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid is also known as vitamin B5. It is a B vitamin that helps in the metabolism of the three primary macronutrients. It also accelerates wound healing and other vital processes.

Now you have come to know about the nutritional facts of sunflower seeds. You know that carbohydrates are low, and fat is high in sunflower seeds.

So, “are sunflower seeds keto-friendly?” It is the right time to answer your question. Let’s go for the answer.

Whether Sunflower Seeds Are Keto Friendly Or Not?

whether sunflower seeds are keto friendly or not

People who follow the standard keto diet take 30 to 50 grams per day to maintain ketosis. However, the great news is that sunflower seeds are entirely keto friendly. Sunflower seeds have very low carbohydrates, less than 4 grams of net carbs per ¼ cup of serving.

If you eat a large amount of 1760 calories (10 servings or 300 grams) in one sitting, you will risk getting out of ketosis. Otherwise, sunflower seeds will be the best choice for a ketogenic diet.

Moreover, sunflower seeds are also high in fat, dietary fiber, and average protein. It is also abundant in minerals and other micronutrients. All in all, sunflower seeds are a perfect choice for a ketogenic or low-carb diet.

Keto Benefits Of Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds have numerous health benefits. The top four health benefits of sunflower seeds are:

  • Reduction of inflammation
  • Improvement of cardiovascular health
  • Improvement of the immune system
  • Improvement of neonatal or newborn health

The details of these health benefits of sunflower seeds are given below:

Reduction Of Inflammation

According to research, sunflower seeds have anti-inflammatory properties. One Columbia University study found that eating sunflower seeds around 4 to 5 times per week can help lower serum inflammation. In addition, sunflower seeds are also helpful in lowering the risk of many other types of chronic disease.

Improvement Of Cardiovascular Health

Unsaturated fats are beneficial to heart health. According to a study, sunflower seeds can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. It can also reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Improvement Of Immune System

Sunflower seeds are high in zinc. Zinc is one of the most crucial nutrients for preserving your immune system. Zinc plays a vital role in:

  • Defending against the growth of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other free radicals
  • Progressing and distinguishing Immune cells
  • Preserving immune cell activity
  • Keeping the internal antioxidant condition

Sunflower seeds are also high in selenium, which helps the immune system.

Improvement Of Neonatal Or Newborn Health

Mothers or those who are pregnant also include sunflower seeds in their diets. It is because sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E and folate. Both the nutrients are essential for a growing baby.

Folate protects the placenta and lowers the risk of inborn disabilities like spina bifida. On the other hand, vitamin E gives internal and external health throughout pregnancy.

Side Effects Of Sunflower Seeds

Besides the health benefits of sunflower seeds, there are some side effects. Some side effects are given below:

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Sunflower seeds contain Linoleic acid, which is 65 percent of the fat. This fatty acid is necessary for maintaining the structure of cell membranes.

However, it is needed in small amounts. An excess amount of linoleic acid can be harmful to fat tissue.

Omega-6 can cause insulin resistance, glycation, mitochondrial abnormality, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.

Antinutrients And Toxins

Sunflower seeds make antinutrients and toxins in the plant. These two components protect sunflowers from wild creatures.

There is an antinutrient named phytic acid. This phytic acid is high in sunflower seeds.

Moreover, this phytic acid reduces the biological components of iron and zinc. It can also prevent the absorption of nutrients from other foods eaten with sunflower seeds.

Buying Guides For Sunflower Seeds

There are some guidelines that you can follow in buying sunflower seeds. The guidelines are:

  • Buy fresh sunflower seeds
  • Do not buy and eat sour seeds
  • Buy organic seeds
  • Make sure that the sunflower seeds are non-GMO (non genetically modified organism)
  • Check the sugar level before purchasing salted or raw sunflower seeds

Keto Recipe With Sunflower Seeds

keto recipe with sunflower seeds

There are plenty of recipes with sunflower seeds. One recipe with sunflower seeds is given below:

Keto Butter Cups With Sunflower Seeds

These keto butter cups with sunflower seeds are the best snack for those on the keto diet. The ingredients and making process of butter cups are given below:

The Ingredients

  • Sunflower butter: 2 tablespoon
  • Barlean’s Greens powder: 2 tablespoon
  • Cocoa butter: 8 ounce
  • Sunflower seeds: ½ cup

The Making Process

Begin with measuring the weight of the cocoa butter wafers. You will need about 8 ounces of cocoa butter.

Melt the cocoa butter with the help of a microwave or stove. It will take around three and half minutes in the microwave.

Mix two tablespoons of Barlean’s greens powder with cocoa butter. Then include two tablespoons of sunflower butter.

Stir until the sunflower butter is thoroughly mixed. After that, mix ½ cup of sunflower seeds.

Then, using a spoon, pour the mixture into the Halloween-shaped container. Then, please place it in the fridge for 3 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I eat sunflower seeds?

You can eat raw, sprouted, fried, or roasted sunflower seeds.

2. How can I store sunflower seeds?

You can store sunflower seeds by freezing them for six months.

3. Is it okay to eat roasted sunflower seeds on a keto diet?

Yes, it is okay to eat roasted sunflower seeds on a keto diet.

4. Are the sunflower seeds from Bigs BBQ keto friendly?

No, the sunflower seeds from Bigs BBQ are not keto friendly.

5. Are sunflower seeds helpful for diabetes?

Sunflower seeds are helpful for diabetes because the nutrients of sunflower seeds will fight against diabetes.

6. Is it true that sunflower seeds are gluten-free?

Sunflower seeds are indeed gluten-free if they are unprocessed.

7. Is it true that sunflower seeds make you fat?

No, sunflower seeds do not make you fat but help you lose weight.

8. What if I eat sunflower seeds daily?

If you eat sunflower seeds daily, you might face irritating side effects because sunflower seeds are high in calories.

Final Thoughts

I have said that health is an essential thing in people’s life. Also, food is connected with health.

Sunflower seeds are one kind of food. It is healthy food. However, “are sunflower seeds keto friendly?

It was the question from your side. So, if you read this article, you can find your answer that yes, sunflower seeds are keto-friendly.

So, you can take it on your keto diet. However, you have to follow the things written here. If you follow and do according to it, you will get a better outcome.

Hey there. I am a registered doctor and founder of this site. The main goal of this site is to help individuals with good food habits, diet, and nutrition. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, exploring different food recipes and diets.

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