Can You Eat Too Much Flaxseed?

The short answer is no, not that I’m aware of. Let me tell you how I came to this conclusion.

I recently started weightlifting again and realized I wasn’t consuming enough protein to maximize muscle growth. So, I turned to the old standby: Whey Protein. Everything was fine and good until I realized I wasn’t quite as regular as I used to be. (I’m trying my hardest not to let this post descend into toilet humor. Please read on, it’s worthwhile.) The only real change I had made in my diet was the consumption of whey. It wasn’t such a leap in reason to assume that 2 whey protein shakes a day might have the same effect as eating half a brick of cheddar, they’re both dairy products after all. I didn’t want to give up the protein, so I started looking for a way to add more fiber into my diet to help counteract the cement like properties of the whey powder.

I discovered Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal and started mixing it in with my shakes. I tried a tablespoon or two the first couple of times but it didn’t seem to have much effect. Then, I tried a half cup. Hey, imagine that, it did the trick! From then my curiosity got the better of me.

I started mixing 1/2 cup of ground flaxseed with a glass of water and chugging that for breakfast every morning. It’s not exactly delicious without the chocolate protein powder, but I’ve been incredibly satisfied with the results.

I used to get ravenously hungry by 10am. When I have flax for breakfast, I’m satisfied well into the early afternoon. When I mix it with whey powder, I’m not even hungry until 3pm rolls around.

I trolled around on the web to see if there were any negatives associated with too much flax, and found that every website recommended taking less than 2 tablespoons a day, saying that much over that can “wreak havoc on your digestive tract, producing a laxative-like effect.” They all said this, and I’m calling bullshit. I’ve been at this for about a month now, and haven’t noticed any other side effects besides a loss of appetite and extreme regularity. Oh, and an inch off my waistline.

One word of caution, make sure you stay well hydrated if you eat this much flax. I’m talking at least 100 oz. a day.

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Edit: I’ve noticed that I get a decent amount of hits on this post and I just wanted to make sure that I’ve answered any questions you might have. So, let me know if there is anything I haven’t addressed that you would like to know.

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4 Comments on “Can You Eat Too Much Flaxseed?”

  1. Me Says:

    Be careful. Omega-3’s in excess quantities act as blood thinners and you could get internal bleeding.

  2. newtoflax Says:

    Thank you for this post. Maybe different people have different reactions to the flax. I eat a lot of cheese so probably have the same problem you have from the whey. I have just gotten my first supplyof flax seeds, but am pretty sure my system will require more than two tablespoons of it. Also, strangely enough I kind of like the way they taste just chewing on the whole seed….

    Anyway, I appreciate your post, thank again!

    • danwalsh Says:

      Thanks for the kind words. This has been one of my favorite posts so far.

      I wanted to take a sec and point out that too much of anything can wreak havoc on your system in countless ways. I recently read an article about a woman who consumed too much fish oil/omega 3 fats. Her body stopped absorbing other essential fats in order to compensate for the omega 3’s, causing some very serious side affects to her health. She was taking straight oil however, and I personally don’t believe this kind of imbalance can occur by eating flax seeds or meal. I doubt the human body can extract that much fat before the seeds make it all the way through the digestive tract. I have no scientific data to back this up, this is just my belief. Regardless, everything in moderation.

      The point of this post was to challenge the conventional/collective wisdom on the internet (“don’t eat more that 2 TBS or you’ll crap your brains out like in a Pepto Bismal commercial!”), and to provide a solution to a common problem that people who drink whey protein often experience. I hope the post has achieved both.

  3. flaxseedguy Says:

    The only other thing to worry about is all the fiber. I don’t think it could hurt your health, but it sure keeps everything running through your body quickly.

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