As emotional eaters we are always trying to find a way to lose weight while enjoying our favorite foods.
Sunflower Seed Diet?
Yes you can lose weight eating them although there are lots of conditions and assumptions to work through first.
The first question is, “what even is a sunflower seed diet?”
Is it where you eat nothing but sunflower seeds? Just seeds all day long and water to drink? If so then let’s explore that option.
First of all it’s worth mentioning that a diet like that would be very easy to shop for. Your fridge would be empty and the pantry full of nothing but bags of seeds. You’d also have an easy time choosing what to eat for all 3 meals plus dessert.
There would be no cooking or dishes to do and your kitchen would stay clean all week long. Funny, we don’t realize how much of our time and resources go into shopping, sorting, planning, cooking and cleaning until we consider a diet like this.
So there are lots of upsides to trying this out. But what are the downsides? Well, the most obvious one is that you will be eating the exact same thing day in and day out and will probably have urges by day 3 to eat something, anything else, just for variety.
Then there is the nutritional aspect. Sunflower seeds are incredibly nutritious and very good for your health. They contain lots of the best type of fat (monounsaturated) that is really good for your heart and reduces inflammation in your body.
They’re also high in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin E and copper. The downside nutritionally is that sunflower seeds are not a complete source of protein so you won’t be getting all of the essential protein that you need to survive.
Meaning at one point you’ll have to eat something else that has the missing protein in it, making this diet impossible to keep long term.
30 Day Sunflower Seed Diet
***Disclaimer: Please talk with your doctor before trying out any of the ideas being thrown around in this article.
If you wanted to try it out short term you could lose weight within a few weeks. Some people fast for up to 30 days (no food at all ) so going without complete nutrition for a few weeks should be feasible and, unless you ate a truckload of them, you would lose weight.
HOW MUCH THOUGH?
Well let’s see. One cup of hulled sunflower seeds contains approximately 800 calories. A Big Mac by contrast contains only 500 or so. Why so many for the seeds? Because they contain a high amount of fat. Again it’s fat that you want to put into your body but fat is calorie dense and seeds have lots of it.
Sunflower seeds are kind of oily and if you crush them and make butter with them, in the same way you make peanut butter from peanuts, you’ll see how rich they really are.
So they are calorie dense and that means you can’t eat that many of them if you are thinking about losing weight using the calorie counting method. Meaning you eat less calories than you burn in a day.
A typical woman needs about 2000 calories a day to maintain her weight so she would have to eat less than 2 1/2 cups in her entire day. A man would have to eat 3 cups or less.
Doesn’t sound very appealing does it? Feeling hungry most of the day due to having only 2 cups of seeds in you.
That bleak scenario above is just one possibility. Here at EatingLove.org we subscribe to the insulin regulation theory of weight loss which is basically what the Keto and Paleo diets do. The goal in all cases is to keep your insulin levels low by keeping your carbs low.
And sunflower seeds are the perfect food for that because even though they do contain carbs, some of it is fiber (which has no effect on your insulin) and the rest have a small to negligible effect on your insulin levels.
If you took 100 grams of seeds (1/4 lb) and analyzed it’s nutritional content for the big three you’d find that about 55 grams of that is fat, 21g of protein, 20g carbs and 9 grams of fiber.
The fat, fiber and protein all have an effect on what little carbs there are resulting in a slow entry of them into the bloodstream. That means even less insulin released which is what we want.
I mention this because if you choose to go this route on your sunflower seed diet, seeing it as a low carb, high fat diet then you don’t have to worry so much about how much you eat. Just worry about keeping insulin low and you will lose weight.
That’s a broad statement that has exceptions but if we are strictly talking about sunflower seeds (only) then I am confident making it. Partly because I don’t think people can eat so many seeds day after day and not get tired of them.
So go ahead, eat what you like and see what happens.
Longer Term and Variations
So if you adopt this all sunflower seeds, all-the-time diet you will have to stop it at one point.
But if you want to make sunflower seeds a part of your weight loss diet plan then here’s how:
Keeping true to the principal of low carbs and low insulin, you would eat sunflower seeds to your heart’s content for breakfast and lunch and then have a dinner of meat or chicken with lots of veggies or a big salad.
Don’t worry about calories, just enjoy. For dessert you could have sunflower seed butter. Just grind roasted sunflower seeds in a blender and let it stand for a few minutes. Then lather some up over a rice cake and dig in. It’s pretty good. Not as good as peanut butter but close enough, especially if you love sunflower seeds.
What you are doing here again is keeping insulin low throughout the day with your desired seeds being the biggest part of your diet.
That’s a better way to include sunflower seeds in a diet that will result in long term weight loss for you.
THE EATING LOVE GUIDE (FREE)
The Eating Love Guide has helped many people regain control of their eating patterns, resulting not only in weight loss but also better health and improved self-esteem. To read it online, click here.