Research: Chia seeds and weight loss.

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Chia seeds may help you lose weight.  

  Chia pet

Chia pet

Do you remember the chia pet of our childhood?   The commercials were mesmerizing.  These little clay figurines came in multiple shapes to include Homer Simpson, Darth Vader, and just about any other barnyard or public figure you can imagine.  Although the jingle that accompanied the advertisement was quite mesmerized, the most amazing thing is not the music, it is the fact that people are now eating these little seeds as a supplement to the nutrition.  

I would not have imagined that seeds from this household ornamental plant would ever be considered a nutritional addition to your diet.  Everywhere search on the Internet,  I find another expert that is recommending chia seeds to cure just about everything that might ail you.  Weight loss experts and exercise gurus, alike, suggest the weight loss and health benefits of chia seeds, but the question is: is there any scientific evidence to back up these claims or is this just another hoax? 

chia seeds

Chia seeds

So what are Chia seeds?  Chia seeds are seeds from a desert plant called Salvia hispanica. They are a member of the mint family and are commonly found in Mexico.  Currently,  these little seeds can be found in everything from baked goods to yogurt.  I personally have added them to smoothies and oatmeal.    They have a nutty flavor that is easily covered by the flavor of just about any fruit or spice.  Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.  There also a good source of multiple vitamins and minerals.  

Yogurt with Chia and Kiwi

Yogurt with Chia and Kiwi

So do Chia seeds help with weight loss?  Experts claim that chia seeds assist with weight loss by decreasing daily cravings and expanding the cut as they of water.  This concept makes sense because decreased satiety o as the Firebirds the water.  It is also known that chia seeds are also a good source of protein which also would assist in decreasing appetite.   Research is not clear, but there is some research to back this up.  One study o concluded that 50 g per day of chia seeds for 12 weeks did not assist with weight loss[1].  A more recent study that looked at 65 participants with metabolic syndrome found the participants had a decrease in hyperglycemia, lowered their weapons, and had an antioxidant effect[2].  The problem is the research for weight loss is very limited.  

 

Everywhere search on the Internet,  I find another expert that is recommending chia seeds to cure just about everything that might ail you.  Experts claim that it will cure everything from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  If you search far and wide, I’m sure you will find more that claim these beauties are a potential cure just about everything.    Although the research is limited for weight loss, the mechanism for the weight loss effects of Chia seeds just makes sense.   The problem is the suspected mechanism for weight loss is just theoretical.  

The bottom line:   Chia seeds are healthy additions to your diet.  Although the evidence is lacking for weight loss, I recommend adding them to your diet.  Very great source of protein and fiber.  The best part is that they will thicken your smoothie.  More research is needed to back up chia seeds for weight loss.

References

[1]
D. Nieman, E. Cayea, M. Austin, D. Henson, S. McAnulty, and F. Jin, “Chia seed does not promote weight loss or alter disease risk factors in overweight adults.,” Nutr Res, vol. 29, no. 6, pp. 414–8, Jun. 2009. [PubMed]
[2]
M. Guevara-Cruz et al., “A dietary pattern including nopal, chia seed, soy protein, and oat reduces serum triglycerides and glucose intolerance in patients with metabolic syndrome.,” J Nutr, vol. 142, no. 1, pp. 64–9, Jan. 2012. [PubMed]
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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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