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    You Ask, I Answer: Salba

    Do you know anything about Salba?

    It seems to be getting quite popular (I accidentally ordered a raspberry salba square at my local coffee shop the other day), and I’m not sure whether it’s a fad or not.

    Is it actually a whole food or is it processed?

    Where does it come from?

    Is it as good as the makers of it claim?

    — Meredith (Last name unknown)
    Via the blog

    The folks at Core Naturals sure are working hard to hype up Salba.

    No clue what I’m talking about? Let me break it down.

    According to manufacturer Core Naturals, the salba seed is pretty much the greatest food ever created.

    Dubbed by the company as “nature’s perfect whole food,” the press release pushes it as a one-stop shop for some of the highest quantities of fiber, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, folate, and Omega-3 fatty acids.

    Then there are statements such as this:

    “Because of Salba’s ability to absorb several times its weight in water, it may also help to curb hunger.”

    That’s wonderful, but that’s simply what all soluble fibers do – the same ones found in oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

    Core Naturals even make reference to one nutrition PhD at a Toronto-based university who, after conducting research, confirmed that Salba’s advertised properties truly exist.

    You know something is slightly off, though, when the bragging rights about the doctor go something like this: “[He works at] the same university where in 1921, Dr. Frederic Banting discovered insulin and won the Nobel Prize for Medicine.”

    Errrr…. okay?

    Besides, there is something very suspect about having only one professional analyze your food. If Core Naturals is so sure that what they have is — for all intents and purposes — manna, why not send it out to a variety of independent food laboratories to have their goldmine validated?

    Anyhow, Salba is just a white chia seed – with the exact same nutritional profile of all other chia seeds (which are usually black).

    So, yes, it is an unprocessed whole food, in the same way that fruits, vegetables, nuts, and a plethora of other seeds are.

    Don’t get me wrong. Chia seeds have a neat nutritional profile – they are a good source of fiber, phosphorus, manganese and Alpha Linolenic Acid – but by no means is Salba a powerfood, nor does it offer the same Omega-3 profile as 28 ounces of salmon (as Core Naturals advertises.)

    That is a very easy statement to debunk, by the way. Remember, salmon offers EPA and DHA, two Omega-3 fatty acids not present in seeds.

    This situation with Salba and Core Naturals would be paramount to a company patenting Granny Smith Apples, calling them something different and claiming they were nutritionally superior any other apples.

    Considering that Salba retails for anywhere from two to three times as much as standard chia seeds, I don’t really see a reason for purchasing it.

    File it under “F” for fad. No, make that “FF” for… flimsy fad.



    1. Anonymous said on August 28th, 2008

      Good for you. There is so much hype around Core Naturals and its leader Mitchel Propster. 2 things we know for sure. Salba is Chia and Chia is Salba and there is NO WAY to explain the price.

      Salba is nothing but a cartel of greedy people preying on the weak and desperate. If Core Naturals was sincere in raising the health of American’s then they would not be so concerned with price.

      I have bought White Chia,Black Chia and Salba……exact some feeling and results……and they all float in my juice the same way………As far a the research goes ……. just try getting a straight answer out of this guy……..There is no way that they can say this research is on Salba and not Chia……save your money and your time. Eat well, but some Chia and dont get ripped off by this Mitch fraud or Core Naturals.

    2. Margaret said on August 28th, 2008

      Salba is, as you say, the trademarked version of chia seed. Chia is mild flavored and easy to add to any recipe. By adding 1 ounce of chia seed to your daily diet, you get over 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids (ALA), 7 grams of soluble fiber, and 250 grams of calcium.

      If you use flaxseed, you should consider switching to chia/Salba, because 1) chia doesn’t need to be ground, 2) chia doesn’t go rancid.

      Chia is a relatively new food product, and it’s value is still being established. I’ve seen it sold for $4 a pound and for $80 a pound (really).

      For more info, I hope your readers will stop by my blog, http://www.chiativity.org.

    3. Andy Bellatti said on August 28th, 2008

      I don’t think this should become a “flaxseed vs. chia” debate.

      There is room for both.

      The fact that flaxseeds need to be ground up should not be seen as a “negative” — ground flaxseeds are easily available, and whole ones can be easily ground up in a coffee grinder.

      Additionally, the fact that flaxseeds can go rancid should also not be considered an issue. Storing a bag of ground flaxseed in the freezer easily solves this problem.

      Olive oil, bananas, and nuts can go rancid, too… that doesn’t mean we should look for other foods in their place.

    4. Kristin said on August 28th, 2008

      Okay, maybe I’m living under a rock, but chia seeds? As in the little seeds that you use to grow Chia Pets? Are they the same?

    5. Andy Bellatti said on August 28th, 2008


      Yup — same ones. But chia seeds should not be considered a weapon against hair loss in humans!

    6. K said on January 2nd, 2009

      Salba and common Chia are different. What is the challenge is the missuse of facts that Core Naturals uses in its marketing.

      The professor at the University is suddenly no longer there…..a undisclosed source say he took money from the Saturday Evening Post (notice they have done 4 articles on this guy).

      It turns out the Dr. owns part of Core Naturals as well as the rights to Salba in his home country Croatia.

      Salba, Chia, Flax, Fish Oil, Paint Thinner…..no matter what you purchase, you have to deal with reputable people who are “for profit” but not common thieves.

      Please check out who these people are and how badly they are lying to all of us.

    7. Andrew said on February 11th, 2010

      Or F for F… you!

      Sorry, it was the obvious answer.

      What a joke. Never heard of this seed before, but I’m not about to start buying it now 🙂

      Whatever happened to good old sesame seeds? You know how much calcium there is in that? Pity no-one’s patented them… oh but maybe they could put a new name on black sesame seeds… I gotta get me to the patent office, ahem…


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