Chia seeds are the tiny seed of the Salvia hispanica plant, also known as the chia plant. The vast majority of chia seeds produced today are a brown/black color and are known as black chia seeds, yet you may have also come across a different-looking chia seed, one which is white in color. So what’s the difference between white and black chia seeds?
Where Do White Chia Seeds Come From?
Sadly, white chia seeds are not magical new superfoods and come from the same Salvia hispanica plants as black chia seeds do. Their different coloration is simply down to genetics, with chia plants that produce white seeds displaying a recessive gene, causing them to produce white flowers and then white seeds. Over time, the dominant black chia gene has led to most chia seeds being dark in color, which has caused white chia seeds to be viewed as rare and unusual.
Are White Chia Seeds Nutritionally Different?
The nutritional differences between black and white chia seeds are so marginal that most sources simply say that they are the same. Suppose you look extremely closely at their nutritional composition. In that case, black chia seeds contain a very slightly higher amount of protein, and white chia seeds have marginally more ALA omega3 fatty acids. Unfortunately, these differences are so tiny and can vary dramatically depending on growing conditions and location.
Do Black And White Chia Seeds Taste Different?
We’re sorry to say that once again, there is no difference between how white and black chia seeds taste because white seeds have an almost identical genetic makeup to black chia seeds except for their single recessive color gene. That being said, for fussy eaters, it is often easier to hide white chia seeds in other foods because they stand out less.
So Why Are White Chia Seeds More Expensive?
If white and black chia seeds come from the same plants and have the same nutritional composition, why are white chia seeds more expensive? The answer is because they are seen as rare. Because far fewer white chia seeds are produced, growers can charge more for them, and consumers seem happy to pay the higher price for the more aesthetically pleasing seed color.
There is virtually no difference between white and black chia seeds. Nutritionally, they have an almost identical makeup, and both colors of chia seed taste precisely the same. If you’re happy to spend more on white chia seeds, they can be a novel alternative to ordinary black chia seeds, but they do not provide any additional health benefits.