How much chia seeds should i eat to lose weight? In recent times, the popularity of chia seeds has increased a lot. The seeds are considered very healthy and thus, people nowadays prefer consuming them. They can be eaten in various ways; raw or roasted, soaked in water or added in drinks. They are rich in several nutrients including omega-3 fats, protein, dietary fiber and antioxidants. Eating them regularly will improve the diet of anyone.
What Are Chia Seeds?
These tiny seeds have been used as food and medicine for over 5,500 years. They are harvested from Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant that belongs to the Lamiaceae family. What makes them stand out is their unique nutritional profile.
According to a review published in the journal Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny in March 2017, dietary fiber accounts for 23 to 35 percent of their content. Furthermore, these seeds are about 31 to 34 percent fat, 16 to 26 percent protein and 37 to 45 percent carbs. They also provide essential vitamins and minerals as well as potent antioxidants and bioactive compounds.
The dietary fats in chia seeds are mostly polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as omega-3 and omega-6. As the American Heart Association (AHA), points out, these nutrients may protect against cardiovascular problems and lower bad cholesterol levels.
The AHA recommends replacing trans and saturated fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids to keep your heart healthy. Avocado, nuts, seeds, sesame oil and olive oil are all good sources of monounsaturated fats.
Chia seeds also deliver more protein per serving than barley, rice and oat seeds. They are rich in glutamic acid, an amino acid that supports brain health and serves as a neurotransmitter. Arginine, lysine, histidine, leucine and valine are some of the most abundant acids in chia seeds. These nutrients are the building blocks of protein and play a key role in hormone production, metabolic function and cardiovascular health.
In addition to protein, carbs and fat, these seeds boast high antioxidant levels. They provide large doses of beta-sitosterol, quercetin, kaempferol, polyphenols and vitamin E. Antioxidants scavenge oxidative stress and protect your cells from free radical damage, which is a major risk factor for diabetes, cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative disorders.
Do chia seeds help you lose weight?
There are many assertions on the internet that chia seeds curb your appetite and promote weight loss. The running theory is that since chia seeds are filling and high in fiber, they keep you fuller longer. They may therefore help prevent overeating.
Two tablespoons of chia seeds have almost 10 grams of fiber. That’s around 40 percent of the recommended daily intake. Diets high in fiber have been linked to weight loss. According to 2015 research, eating 30 grams of fiber daily may help you lose as much weight as if you followed a more complicated diet.
Here’s the catch, though. Research doesn’t back the hype. There are few human studies on chia seeds and weight loss. A 2009 study reviewed the effects of chia seeds on weight loss and disease risk factors.
For the study, 90 overweight or obese adults consumed either a placebo or 25 grams of chia seeds mixed with water before their first and last meals of the day. Unfortunately, the results showed no impact on body mass, body composition, or disease risk factors.
Chia seeds are also relatively high in calories and fat. Two tablespoons have 138 calories and 9 grams of fat (1 gram saturated). When used in moderation, chia seeds may help you feel more satisfied and less likely to eat too much. Still, if you eat too many throughout the day, you may go over your daily calorie limit.
Chia seeds and heart health
Chia seeds are often marketed as heart-healthy because, though they are tiny little seeds, they’re high in omega-3 fatty acids. However, most of the omega-3 fatty acid in chia seeds is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
A 2012 review found that foods and supplements high in ALA may reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome and coronary heart disease. But at least one study found that high ALA levels are associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
Of the 16 studies reviewed, half supported the health benefits of ALA while the others did not. More research is needed.
Can Chia Seed Water Actually Help You Lose Weight?
Some people on TikTok claim that sipping on H2O infused with chia seeds is the key to dropping pounds. Here’s what you need to know.
Is chia seed water a magic weight loss potion? According to proponents of the latest viral TikTok health trend, drinking the superseed steeped in H2O may be the key to prevent overeating and ultimately helping with weight loss.
TikTok user @happyandhealthyolivia shared the health hack as part of her popular series “TikTok Health Trends That Actually Work.” The brief video has been viewed over 12.4 million times since June 28 and includes a demonstration on how to make the purported weight loss beverage. “Just combine 1 tablespoon [tbsp] of chia seeds with a glass of water (optional: add lime) and drink 30 minutes before meals,” she says, in addition to explaining they increase feelings of fullness.
Another user, @kanipark, mixes her chia seed water, boasting that the tiny black seeds are filled with fiber, protein, good fats, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and antioxidants. “Drinking chia seed water in the morning can give a boost to your digestion and improve bowel movement. Great for your protein intake, heart health, bone health, blood sugar control, digestion, weight loss, and inflammation,” she writes. “It doesn’t really taste like anything but it doesn’t taste good either. But if I drink this whole thing I know that I will be full because it is super thick.”
What Does Science Say About Chia Seeds for Weight Loss?
According to the nonprofit FoodPrint, chia seeds come from the chia plant, Salvia Hispanica, and they earned their name from Aztec warriors, who used them as survival foods.
There is no research on chia seed water for weight loss, and even on chia seeds alone, there is a lack of rigorous research suggesting they provide this benefit. For example, a small Brazilian study published in 2015 in Nutricion Hospitalaria involving 26 men and women who were overweight or had obesity found that eating 35 grams (about 3 tbsp) of chia seeds daily for 12 weeks resulted in weight loss. That said, the study was small and short term.
Still, there may be some merit to adding chia seeds to your weight loss diet. “Chia seeds are high in fiber, which can help to increase satiety,” says Tara Collingwood, RDN, who is based in Orlando, Florida. They are also a good source of protein and fat, both of which are filling and may prevent overeating, she points out. Just 1 ounce (about 2 tbsp) of the tiny black seeds boasts 4.7g protein, 10 g fiber (an excellent source), and 9 g fat (almost exclusively the good kind), per the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“Bottom line: Chia seeds can prevent hunger because they take a longer time to digest.” However, drinking a glass of chia seed water a day isn’t going to undo the damage of poor dietary choices or a caloric surplus.
How Do You Make Chia Seed Water?
If you still want to whip up chia seed water, Collingwood suggests soaking them in water for 30 minutes or until they are a “tapioca-like gel consistency.” There’s no set ratio for water to chia seeds, but vloggers on TikTok are using 1 tbsp of the seeds in a typical glass of water.
While mixing chia with water won’t enhance the seeds’ potential weight loss perks, it will make them more palatable, not to mention safer to eat. (As Time previously reported, the superseeds can be a choking risk when eaten alone in raw form and in excess.)
If you aren’t into the idea of drinking chia seeds, try eating them dry on top of salads or putting them into baked goods, like breads or pancakes, Collingwood suggests. You can also add them to smoothies or use them to whip up a chia seed pudding for breakfast or a snack. To make the latter, simply mix chia seeds into your favorite type of milk and let sit overnight, Collingwood says. Add other mix-ins like fresh fruit, nuts, and sweetener as you wish. In one chia pudding recipe, blogger Love and Lemons recommends 1 ½ cup of milk to ¼ cup chia, plus other yummy mix-ins, such as cinnamon and fresh lemon or orange juice.
Ways to Use Chia Seeds for Weight Loss
You may have had a casual relationship with them so far, but it’s time to start using chia seeds for weight loss and dig a little deeper into the power of these amazing little superfood seeds. For starters, they’re loaded with essential nutrients like omega-3s, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Chia seeds also pack an impressive three grams of protein and five grams of hunger-crushing fiber per tablespoon.
And since the seeds form a gel when mixed with a liquid (they can hold up to 10 times their weight in liquid), they digest slowly, making them a powerful force against the munchies—which is great news for those looking to control portions and cravings.
With that in mind, it seems like we should all make an effort to make our meals a bit more satiating with the help of the almighty chia seed! From chia pudding to chia-infused nut butter and everything in between, here are 23 great ways to incorporate them into your daily diet and start using the power of chia seeds for weight loss.
1. Pour Some Into Your Detox Water
For some extra nutrition, spoon some chia seeds into your favorite detox water. If you’re looking for something that’s a bit sweet—but still healthy—create a concoction called chia fresca by combining 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon or lime juice, and 2 teaspoons of honey. Let the seeds soak overnight before slurping it all down.
2. Sprinkle Onto Sweet Potatoes
Olive oil and spices are commonly used to amp up the taste of baked sweet potatoes. Almond butter, bananas, and chia seeds? Not so much. But Monique of Ambitious Kitchen loves this off-the-beaten-track combination on her orange spuds. Snag her breakfast recipe to find out how to pull together her signature morning meal.
3. Add to Sliced Fruit with Nut Butter
We love to smear nut butter onto slices of apples and bananas because it makes for the perfect filling snack. Take yours to the next level by sprinkling some crunchy chia seeds on top of the spread.
4. Mix it Into Applesauce
Unsweetened applesauce may be better than the sweetened variety, but with just 3 grams of fiber and less than a half a gram of protein per cup, it’s not always filling. If you’re a fan of this fruity snack, make it one that’s better for your appetite and waistline by mixing in some taste-free chia seeds.
5. Top off a Fruit Salad
Make your morning fruit salad more satisfying by topping your bowl of fresh fruit with some filling chia seeds. Thanks to its healthy fats and fiber content, this breakfast addition will help keep your energy levels soaring well into the afternoon. “[Chia seeds] won’t cause spikes and drops in blood sugar or insulin levels, preventing cravings and overeating later,” Carolyn Brown, MS, RD explains.
6. Add It to Dressing
About a year ago, health food company, Hilary’s came out with a delicious ranch chia dressing that was teeming with omega-3s. If you can’t find the bottle in your local grocery store, simply whip up a dressing featuring chia seeds. Add the seeds to your go-to dressing recipe or head on over to AlvaOSullivan.com to get your hands on her flavor-packed Lemon Chia Seed Dressing recipe. Made with just six clean and easy-to-find ingredients, it’s definitely one of our favorites.
7. Add Them to Avocado Toast
Already a big fan of avocado toast? Great! Elevate your creations to the next level by sprinkling on some crunchy chia. If nothing else, the pretty specks of seeds atop the green mountain of avocado will earn you some extra likes on your Instagram #FoodPorn post. Big fan of the creamy green fruit? Don’t miss these mouthwatering avocado recipes for weight loss.
8. Whip Up a Low-Sugar “Jam”
Skip the store-bought jam that’s full of excess calories and sugar and make a healthier version at home by mixing chia seeds with pureed berries. It’s the perfect topping for whole-grain crackers and PB&J sammies. It even tastes great mixed into plain Greek yogurt.