Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia…no, not the chia pet. We’re talking about the actual seeds of the chia plant. The seeds come from Salvia Hispanica or chia plant. It is grown commercially in various South American countries and is native to Mexico.
Weight loss Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no research that shows chia seeds can directly impact weight loss. In fact, research on 76 obese men and women showed no significant influence on body mass composition. In another study on 62 obese women, the results again indicate that there was no significant influence on bodyweight.
Chia seeds are highly nutritious. The macronutrient profile is as follows (100 g/ 486 Calories):
Protein: 17 g
Fat: 31 g
Carbohydrates: 42 g
Total Dietary Fiber: 34 g
Sugar: 0 g
No sugar, 34 g of fiber not bad. The fats are mostly omega-3’s, which are heart healthy. Most of the carbs are non-digestible which means it does not contribute to fat storage in any way. Chia seeds have a decent amount of protein with all 8 essential amino acids (vegetarians love it). This is an extremely healthy food.
Can you use it for weight loss? Well, like we said before, no…at least not directly. But because of the dietary fiber it may help you to feel full. And this could very well contribute to eating less as you feel satiated…thus leading to fat loss. There is no insulin spike to worry about and it’ll keep your blood sugar levels normal.
Warning Chia seeds absorb water…lots of it. This means that they expand and form a gel like substance. Now this might be good because it will help you feel full. But patients with dysphagia or known esophageal strictures should not consume them dry, followed by liquid. It could expand and cause blockage of the esophagus. It is generally recommended that they are mixed in liquids prior to consumption.
Conclusion So, chia seeds are healthy and once used properly can be added to other foods or drinks for that added nutritional punch. But use some common sense. Eating chia by itself is not going to result in weight loss. The rest of your diet must be also be sensible. Low refined carbs and reduced sugar intake is important. But, chia seeds can aid in weight loss.
P.S. The healthy goat was last seen feeding chia seeds to birds in a local park. It has been a couple of weeks and people are beginning to wonder about the strange bloated appearance of the local pigeon population.
Update: No pigeons were harmed due to the writing of this article. They just weren’t able to fly south for the winter and are currently nesting in the collective beards of ZZ Top.