Sunflower Kernels - Nutritional Information and Carbs

Nutritional Information, Glycemic Index and Calories for Sunflower Seeds

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When I was growing up, sunflower seeds were used to feed the birds. Then at some point in the late 60's, people started eating them. I ate "sunburgers" when I was a vegetarian in the 70's. They started appearing in salads and in cookies, and then finally little bags of them as snacks all on their own. And it turns out these little gems have a lot of nutrients to give us. When you're on a low-carb diet, it's important to get the fat and protein you need to keep your blood sugar balanced, nuts and seeds are portable and need no preparation so they make a perfect snack.


Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin E, a very good source of copper, manganese, and selenium, and a good source of pantothenic acid and folate. They are also rich in phytosterols, which tend to lower LDL cholesterol. A small 1/4 cup serving of the kernels serves up over one-third of the daily recommended vitamin E as well as about a quarter of magnesium, phosphorous  and folic acid. Comparatively, this level of nutritional value is hard to find in such a small package, go ahead a sprinkle some on a salad or just eat them straight out of the bag.

Sunflower Seeds Selection

Sunflower kernels, also called sunflower hearts, are easy to find, but they come in a number of different packaging that may be confusing to people who are new to the low carb diet. When you consider planning your low carb meals, the best way to go with sunflower seeds is unsalted.

This way there's less sodium which will help stave off sugar cravings. Also, while some people eat sunflower seeds whole, that is with the hull and the kernel, others stick to the kernel only. Eating an excess amount of hulls can cause you to become impacted. Also, many nutrition facts of sunflower seeds only count the nutritional value of the kernel inside.

Sun butter is becoming a staple for kids who have nut allergies to enjoy sun butter and jelly sandwiches.

Sunflower Seeds Storage

Sunflower seeds have an extremely long shelf life. In a pantry, raw sunflower seeds can last between 2-3 months. In the pantry roasted, you're looking at 3-4 months. In the refrigerator in an airtight container, roasted sunflower kernels last as long as 5 months. Freeze them and you're into 1 year with edible sunflower seeds. Sun butter lasts for 6 months unopened and another 6 months in the refrigerator.  

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Sunflower Seeds

Serving SizeNet CarbohydrateFiberCalories
1/4 cup sunflower seed kernels3 grams effective (net) carbohydrate4 grams fiber 207 calories
1 ounce sunflower seed kernels3 grams effective (net) carbohydrate3 grams fiber175 calories

Glycemic Index for Sunflower Seeds

As with most nuts and seeds, there is no scientific study of the glycemic index of sunflower seeds. This is because it would require too eating too many seeds to be practical.

More Information about the Glycemic Index

Estimated Glycemic Load of Sunflower Seeds

Most authorities estimate the glycemic load of sunflower seeds as zero.

More Information About the Glycemic Load

More Popular Carb Profiles


USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26.

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