Chia seeds, the teeny tiny, black and white seeds, are all over social media for their innumerable benefits. These small seeds, added in everything from puddings to smoothies, come from a flowering plant in the mint family called Salvia Hispanica.
Including chia seeds in your diet can be one step toward weight loss. And it’s no secret why they’re so popular for weight loss. Chia seeds’ insoluble fibre and protein keep you feeling satiated and full. But, with nearly 11 grams of fibre per serving, chia seeds might be the missing piece to your weight-loss puzzle.
Are Chia Seeds Good for Weight Loss
A study shows that dietary fibre intake, independent of caloric and macronutrient intake, promotes weight loss. In addition, all that 3.3 grams of fibre per 1 tbsp chia seeds can help to increase satiety. Plus, it can prevent hunger because fibre-rich chia seeds take longer to digest.
Secondly, chia seeds are a good source of protein with 1 tbsp containing 1.6 g of protein. Protein-rich foods take longer to digest, keeping you full and may prevent overeating. According to studies, protein is the most filling macronutrient. It tends to reduce the levels of ghrelin (hunger hormone) in the body while boosting levels of the peptide YY, which further helps an individual feel full.
Thus, fiber and protein together increase satiety, reduce cravings and eventually help in calorie deficit.
Remember, adding chia seeds to the diet or just eating chia seeds will not result in weight loss. Chia seeds could help you lose weight only when combined with regular exercise and mindful, healthy eating. That also means chia seeds are not a catalyst for dramatic weight loss. Instead of feeling fixated on single foods and ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ eat, improve your overall eating patterns.
The HealthifyMe Note
Chia seeds are rich in fibre and protein and thus can be a great addition to one’s weight loss journey. Fibre and protein promote satiety, which in turn helps lower calorie intake. Furthermore, protein helps build muscle mass subsequently enhancing fat burning when coupled with strength training.
Ways to Eat Chia Seeds for Weight Loss
Nutritionists suggest soaking chia seeds in water until they reach a gel-like consistency or for a minimum of 30 minutes. Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, salads, puddings, pancakes or a simple chia seed water.
You can make an overnight chia milk pudding and top it with your choice of fresh fruits to make a healthy breakfast.
Chia seeds have a mild flavour. So you can add them to several preparations without worrying about flavour variations. For a gluten-free alternative, swap chia seeds with the flour in your pastry recipes. You can buy pre-ground chia seeds or grind them in a blender until powdery to use in cake, cookie, or pancake recipes.
The HealthifyMe Note
If you are looking to add a versatile and healthy ingredient to support your weight loss journey chia seeds can be the answer. You can mix chia seeds in water, salads, smoothie, pudding, milk, pancake mix or a bowl of oatmeal. Drinking a glass of chia seed water daily, preferably in the morning, can be a healthy addition to your weight loss diet.
3 Chia Seeds Recipes to Try
1. Chia Seed Pudding
Preparation time: 10 minutes (Prep time does not include the additional refrigeration time)
- Coconut or almond milk: 2 cups
- Chia seeds: 6 tbsps
- Cinnamon: 1 tsp
- Sea salt: a pinch
- Blueberries or chopped nuts for topping
Method of Preparation
- Pour the milk into a jar. Add the chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt.
- Cover the lid and shake well to combine.
- Refrigerate for a few hours, then give it a good stir to loosen any lumps.
- Refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours for the pudding to set.
- Serve with fruit, nuts, or any preferred toppings.
2. Berry Chia Seed Smoothie
Preparation time: 5 minutes
- Frozen berries of your choice: 1 cup
- Unsweetened milk of your choice: 1 cup
- Unflavoured yoghurt: 1/4 cup
- Chia seeds: 1 tablespoon
Method of Preparation
- Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Pour into cups, and enjoy immediately!
3. Strawberry Chia Seed Popsicles
Serves: 10 popsicles
Preparation time: 10 minutes
- Frozen strawberries: 3 cups
- Almond milk: 1/2 cup
- Chia seeds: 1/4 cup
Method of Preparation
- Blend all of the ingredients.
- Pour into a popsicle mould.
- Freeze and enjoy!
With an easy swap of ingredients, chia seed popsicles can be a healthy alternative to store-bought ones. In addition, it has no refined sugars and unhealthy fats, only around 50 calories a piece.
Points To Remember
Excess consumption of chia seeds can have counterproductive effects. Overeating chia seeds can cause gastric issues like bloating and diarrhoea. If your diet is low in fibre, it’s advisable to gradually increase your chia seed intake and drink sufficient water along with it.
Check for the possibility of chia seed allergens. Although rare, chia seed allergy can trigger symptoms or cause a reaction.
Make sure to always soak chia seeds in water or any other liquid before consuming. Never consume the seeds dry.
Eating foods that promote satiety is not an issue, but they should not replace other foods in your diet. For example, when you eat chia seeds, focus on other nutritious mix-ins.
Chia seeds have impressive benefits and are a very versatile ingredients. Do not exceed 1-2 tablespoons per day and always hydrate them in water or milk before use. Remember chia alone cannot cause weight loss. It has to be part of a well-balanced diet and effective exercise routine.
The small but mighty chia seeds offer impressive amounts of dietary fibre and protein, making them a powerful weight loss-friendly food. In addition, consuming chia seeds help control cravings and reduce portion sizes.
Many have heard the weight loss benefits of chia seeds, tried the recipes, and stopped consuming them after a couple of days.
You can add chia seeds in many recipes such as your salad, puddings, smoothies, and bakes.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information please contact our certified nutritionists Here
- Fiber Intake Predicts Weight Loss and Dietary Adherence in Adults Consuming Calorie-Restricted Diets: The POUNDS Lost (Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies) Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6768815/
- Dietary protein – its role in satiety, energetics, weight loss and health: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23107521/
1. What nutrients are present in chia seeds?
The main vitamins present in chia seeds are A, C and E.
Chia also contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B15, B17, D, K, inositol
The main minerals are manganese, phosphorus, copper, selenium, iron, magnesium
and calcium. Chia seeds also contain 18 of the 22 amino acids, including all nine
essential amino acids.
2. Can a person on blood thinner medication consume chia seeds for weight loss?
People on blood thinners should restrict or avoid chia seeds as they may inhibit the ability of their blood to clot and may cause issues with blood circulation.
3. What causes chia seeds to gel?
Chia seeds have a high amount of soluble fibre that absorbs a lot of water and make it swell up to 10 times its weight and become gelatinous.
4. Can I consume chia seeds on an empty stomach for weight loss?
Consuming chia seeds in the morning, especially on an empty stomach, is believed to provide optimal weight loss results. Since they boost metabolism and aid digestion it is better to have them before you start your day.
By: Parul Dube, Masters in Public Health Nutrition
Medically Reviewed By: Sumita Thomas, Masters in Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition Services
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