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Keep Houston Press Free
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Flaxseed Fad?

Acai berries, whole grain, probiotics and fiber are about to be usurped by flaxseed.

Once seen mostly in specialty health food stores and used as an additive to salads, breads and soups, flaxseed-infused products are making their way to the same store shelves that stock things like Cheez-Whiz and Captain Crunch.

Ever since Jamie Lee Curtis started putting the regular in bifidus regularis, America has had an obsession with healthy digestion. Flaxseed is attractive to health nuts because it contains omega-3 fatty acids, lignans which have antioxidant qualities and, of course, fiber. According to WebMD, there's evidence it can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.

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All this is great, but after seeing a friend choke down the stuff during weeks of Prevention magazine's Flat Belly Diet, it became clear an investigation was merited.

The oil by itself tastes like nothing, perhaps a little fishy. Imagine pan-frying salmon in olive oil, then pouring the leftover oil into a bottle and drinking it chilled. Taste tests with products like Flax Plus Red Berry Crunch cereal and Flax Plus Waffles were rather unremarkable.

Prediction: Hard-core dieters will find out faster with flaxseed that too much of a good thing is, well, too much. A tablespoon of flaxseed oil contains 120 calories, 120 of which are from fat, ensuring that if you go over the daily recommended dose of one-to-two tablespoons, you'll balloon up faster than you can say Regina George.

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