Are Sunflower Seeds Good For Weight Loss? Nutritional Value & More 2024

are sunflower seeds good for weight loss
Can snacking on sunflower seeds help weight loss? Photo: YusufAslan/Shutterstock

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When eating for weight loss, it’s important to know what foods to focus on. Whether choosing ingredients for meals or looking for a snack, food choices make a difference in weight loss outcomes.

Sunflower seeds are a common snack food. They can be eaten right out of the bag, added to other foods, or pressed into butter. But are sunflower seeds good for weight loss? Yes. Sunflower seeds can support weight loss when eaten in moderation via their robust nutrient profile.

This article explains the benefits of sunflower seeds for weight loss and presents ideas for including them in your diet.

Are Sunflower Seeds Good For Losing Weight?

Yes. Sunflower seeds are nutrient-dense. They contain all three macronutrients:[1] protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, as well as dietary fiber. Together, these nutrients enhance satiety, weight loss, and optimal health.

However, proper portion control is needed as sunflower seed contains high calories in small portions besides its nutritive content.

Are Sunflower Seeds Good For Weight Loss?

are sunflower seeds good for weight loss
Add sunflower seeds to your weight-loss diet. Photo: Ricardo_Dias/Shutterstock

Yes. Sunflower seeds are small but mighty seeds that have the power to improve health and support weight loss. Sunflower seed oil has been shown to be a quick and nutritious snack low in saturated fat that may help lower[2] high blood pressure.

One study showed that consuming sunflower seed extract for 12 weeks caused a reduction in BMI and waist circumference.[3] In participants, both body weight and fat mass decreased. Compared with the placebo group, participants who consumed sunflower seed extract had greater marker reductions.

The results of this study also showed that sunflower seeds affect lipid profile. Sunflower seeds provide improved fat and glucose metabolism. Additionally, for participants who consumed sunflower seed extract, LDL cholesterol lowered and stayed lower longer.

Benefits Of Sunflower Seeds For Weight Loss

Sunflower seeds are good for losing weight because they are nutrient-dense. Individually and collectively, these nutrients have weight loss-supporting benefits.

One ounce of sunflower seeds contains over five grams of protein and over three grams of fiber.[4] Consuming protein and fiber together can help promote satiety,[5] which can benefit weight loss.

It’s not just fiber’s ability to increase satiety which can lead to weight loss. Fiber creates changes to the gut microbiome, which can alter the way other nutrients are processed and enhance bowel function.[6]

Adding sunflower seeds to your diet can boost overall fiber intake. Consume them along with other high-fiber foods for weight loss, such as vegetables, legumes, and fruits.

Although you can lose weight by eating sunflower seeds because they are a healthy snack, they are high in calories, so keep portions modest. Additionally, do not rely on sunflower seeds alone for weight loss — add them to a healthy, weight-loss diet and establish a regular exercise routine.

The Nutritional Value Of Sunflower Seeds

Aside from their protein and fiber content, one ounce[4] of sunflower seeds provides almost 7 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of protein, 181 kcal, 3 grams of fiber, and 6.5 grams of omega-3 fats.[7]

By eating sunflower seeds, you also consume healthy amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, and selenium. Selenium may help change body composition and reduce body fat[8] in obese people. Zinc[9] also has an important function as a trace element for weight loss; zinc improves glucose metabolism and reduces insulin resistance, especially for patients with diabetes.

How To Add Sunflower Seeds To Your Diet 

Adding sunflower seeds to your diet is easy! However you choose to eat them, make sure to remove the outer black shell first — the shell is not edible! Sprinkle-shelled sunflower seeds on top of yogurts or salads for an extra crunch of nutrition.

When possible, consume sprouted sunflower seeds. The sprouting process[10] removes anti-nutrients like phytic acid that can inhibit vitamin and mineral absorption; nutrients in sprouted seeds become more bioavailable after sprouting.

Always consult a registered dietitian for guidance on whether sunflower seeds are right for your weight-loss diet, as well as portion sizes. If applicable, a registered dietitian may recommend additional weight loss supplements.

Eat Sunflower Seeds Whole

Eat sunflower seeds right out of the bag, or sprinkle them into your favorite dishes. Sunflower seeds have a mild flavor and pair well with savory or sweet dishes. Add sunflower seeds to stir-fries, salads, yogurt, soups, or oatmeal.

Grind Sunflower Seeds Into Powder

Use a coffee or seed grinder to grind sunflower seeds into a fine powder. Use the powder in any dish you choose. Sunflower seed powder can be easily added to smoothies to boost fiber, fat, and protein.

For anyone prescribed meal replacement shakes for weight loss, you can easily add powdered sunflower seeds to the shakes.

Eat Sunflower Seed Butter

Sunflower seed butter can be an excellent alternative for anyone with a peanut allergy.

Sunflower seed butter can be made at home with a food processor or purchased in jars at most health food stores. Sunflower seed butter comes in many varieties. Some contain dry roasted sunflower seeds; others have unsalted sunflower seeds.

Sunflower seed butter can be spread on whole-grain toast, added to smoothies, or eaten by the spoonful.

Make Trail Mix

Use shelled sunflower seeds to make a delicious trail mix. Add other seeds, such as sesame or pumpkin seeds, and nuts, such as cashews or walnuts. Add a little dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, or dates. Trail mix is a great vegetarian weight-loss snack. Get creative!

Bake Into Bread 

Make bread by adding sunflower seeds to the dough. You may wish to add the seeds on the outside for the crust or mix the seeds throughout the dough. You can add sunflower seeds to other baked goods, as well, such as crackers, granola bars, and pancakes.

Mix Into Scrambled Eggs

Increase the protein and healthy fat in your morning eggs by adding sunflower seeds. This will give your eggs not only more nutrients but an added crunch. You can add the sunflower seeds to the beaten eggs before they are cooked or sprinkle them on top afterward.

Make A Healthy Swap

Replace unhealthy snacks with sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are dry, savory, and easy to carry. You can consume this healthy and crispy snack instead of various unhealthy snacks, such as potato chips.


Though high in calories, sunflower seeds are a nutritious snack and an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. They also contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Together, these nutrients help change body composition, reduce body fat mass, and increase satiety.

Incorporate sunflower seeds into your diet. Consume them on their own, in trail mix, in salads, in smoothies, or as a seed butter. No matter your preference, including sunflower seeds in an overall healthy diet, can support weight loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do sunflower seeds reduce belly fat?

Maybe. Some studies have shown that sunflower seeds can help reduce body fat mass. However, it is impossible to lose weight by targeting a specific body area with any food or practice.

How many sunflower seeds should I eat daily to lose weight?

Sunflower seeds have no established portion size for sustainable weight loss. Sunflower seeds are high in nutrients but also high in calories. Keep your portion sizes generally small.

Do sunflower seeds speed up metabolism?

Maybe. Studies show that sunflower seeds can improve fat and glucose metabolism. This does not guarantee sunflower seeds help speed up metabolism for all foods.

Why are sunflower seeds so high in calories?

The high-fat content in sunflower seeds contributes to the high calories.

Who should avoid sunflower seeds?

Anyone with a seed or nut allergy should avoid sunflower seeds.

How should I eat sunflower seeds?

Remove the seeds from the shell. Eat the seeds out of the bag, add them to dishes, or add to trail mix. You can grind the seeds into a powder and add them to smoothies or eat sunflower seed butter.

What should I look for when buying sunflower seeds?

Look for unsalted seeds to minimize sodium intake. Also, look for sprouted seeds, which have more bioavailable nutrients than unsprouted seeds. For convenience, you can buy unshelled sunflower seeds.

Do I have to eat sunflower seeds whole to get the weight-loss benefits?

Not necessarily. You can achieve similar nutritional and weight-loss benefits by eating sunflower seeds whole, powdered, or in butter form.

+ 10 Sources

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  2. Abbas Akrami, Farzad Nikaein, Siavash Babajafari, Shiva Faghih and Yarmohammadi, H. (2018). Comparison of the effects of flaxseed oil and sunflower seed oil consumption on serum glucose, lipid profile, blood pressure, and lipid peroxidation in patients with metabolic syndrome. Journal of Clinical Lipidology, [online] 12(1), pp.70–77. doi:
  3. Aurélie Leverrier, Daguet, D., Calame, W., Dhoye, P. and Shyam Prasad Kodimule (2019). Helianthus annuus Seed Extract Affects Weight and Body Composition of Healthy Obese Adults during 12 Weeks of Consumption: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study. Nutrients, [online] 11(5), pp.1080–1080. doi:
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  6. Miketinas, D., Bray, G.A., Beyl, R.A., Ryan, D.H., Sacks, F.M. and Champagne, C.M. (2019). Fiber Intake Predicts Weight Loss and Dietary Adherence in Adults Consuming Calorie-Restricted Diets: The POUNDS Lost (Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies) Study. Journal of Nutrition, [online] 149(10), pp.1742–1748. doi:
  7. DiNicolantonio, J.J. and O’Keefe, J. (2021). The Importance of Maintaining a Low Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio for Reducing the Risk of Autoimmune Diseases, Asthma, and Allergies. Missouri medicine, [online] 118(5), pp.453–459. Available at:
  8. Elisabetta Cavedon, Manso, J., Negro, I., Censi, S., Serra, R., Luca Busetto, Vettor, R., Plebani, M., Raffaele Pezzani, Davide Nacamulli and Mian, C. (2020). Selenium Supplementation, Body Mass Composition, and Leptin Levels in Patients with Obesity on a Balanced Mildly Hypocaloric Diet: A Pilot Study. International Journal of Endocrinology, [online] 2020, pp.1–7. doi:
  9. Cruz, Raquel, A., Beatriz, J., Silva, J., Vieira, M., Rodrigues, S. and Santos, G. (2018). Zinc and Insulin Resistance: Biochemical and Molecular Aspects. Biological Trace Element Research, [online] 186(2), pp.407–412. doi:
  10. Ikram, A., Saeed, F., Muhammad Afzaal, Imran, A., Niaz, B., Tufail, T., Hussain, M. and Faqir Muhammad Anjum (2021). Nutritional and end‐use perspectives of sprouted grains: A comprehensive review. Food Science and Nutrition, [online] 9(8), pp.4617–4628. doi:


A health coach specializing in Integrative Nutrition, I approach wellness with a holistic and functional medicine perspective. As a writer, I simplify intricate topics such as nutrition, gut and hormone health, mental well-being, and spiritual health,… See More