Can we really lose weight with Chia seeds?

The prevalence of overweight and obesity is constantly increasing. Some authors even speak of a pandemic evolution. Excess body fat has many health consequences. Various strategies have been proposed to prevent weight gain and its side effects, including energy balance. Energy balance plays a very important role in weight management. Its objective is to provide less energy than energy expenditure. For this, several methods are available, more or less effective. Some foods are regularly found in the dietary strategies of a weight loss, such as Chia seeds. Chia seeds are the fruits of the Chia plant, a plant native to Central America belonging to the Lamiaceae family. The Chia seed is the super food of reference. Indeed, the nutritional interests of Chia seeds have good reputations, but not all are verified and validated. Often, Chia seeds are perceived as a weight loss food. The objective of this article is to analyze the nutritional composition of Chia seeds, in order to really know its effects on weight loss.

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A hunger-cutting action

Chia seeds are known for their richness in soluble fiber. One counts on average 35 G of fibres in 100 G of seeds of Chia, of which more than ¾ would be represented by soluble fibres (25 to 30 G for 100 G). The soluble fibres get to the seeds of Chia a mucilaginous texture: in contact with a liquid, the seeds of Chia inflate and form a viscous matter.

This swelling is a very interesting property in the project of weight loss. Indeed, they make it possible to play on the food volumes: in the stomach, the seeds of Chia will "take place". The distension of the stomach leads to a nervous signal that stimulates the stopping of the feeling of hunger. Thus, Chia seeds increase satiety, the feeling of fullness and decrease food intake. Together, they reduce the energy intake of the meal and fight against cravings between meals.

Moreover, the Chia seeds are rich in vegetable proteins: approximately 20 G for 100 G of seeds. Proteins have the highest satiety power (i.e., for the same quantity, a protein satiates more than a lipid or a carbohydrate).

The appetite suppressant effect of Chia seeds comes from their soluble fibers and their vegetable proteins.

They modulate the absorption of lipids

The nutritional composition of Chia seeds is mainly occupied by lipids and fibers. The latter are very interesting for weight loss. Indeed, fibers reduce the bioavailability of all nutrients, including lipids. This effect is due to their size and indigestible nature. Thus, soluble fiber forms a "net" that reduces the access of lipids and carbohydrates to lipolytic and glycolytic enzymes. As a result, fiber impacts digestion and nutrient absorption, which reduces fat and carbohydrate absorption, and thus the energy impact of meals.

Note also that the lipidic profile of the seeds of Chia modulates the lipidemia (concentration of the lipids in blood). Indeed, for 30 G of lipids (100 G of seeds of Chia), one finds approximately 23 G of polyunsaturated fatty acids of which 17,8 G of acid α-linolenic (omega-3) and 6 G of linoleic acid (omega-6). Omega-6s tend to lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. While omega-3 increases the HDL-cholesterol ("good cholesterol": protective). Chia seeds help reduce the risk of platelet aggregation. They participate in the prevention of cardiovascular pathologies, promoted by excess body fat.

They reduce the glycemic index

Chia seeds have a glycemic index of 15, which is representative of a low glycemic index. Moreover, they have a low glycemic load, estimated at 0,18 for 15 g consumed (recommended quantity).

The glycemic index is a criterion for classifying foods according to their ability to raise blood sugar levels within two hours of ingestion. A meal with a low glycemic index leads to a low rise in blood sugar levels, so carbohydrate storage is reasonable and blood sugar levels are balanced over time. Conversely, a meal with a high glycemic index causes a high hyperglycemia, which leads to a hypersecretion of insulin. Insulin stimulates the storage of sugar: first, in the form of glycogen in the liver and muscles, once this reserve is completely full, the sugar is stored in the form of triglyceride in the adipose tissue. Very quickly, this storage leads to a drop in blood sugar levels, which is called reactive hypoglycemia. Various symptoms suggest hypoglycemia, such as an abnormally strong feeling of hunger. In short, hypoglycemia makes you hungry and encourages snacking between meals.

Thus, Chia seeds tend to reduce the glycemic load of meals: they limit fat and carbohydrate storage and provide a long feeling of satiety.

To lose weight, no miracle exists

Chia seeds show several advantages in the sense of weight loss. They promote satiety, reduce the energy intake of meals, limit the storage of lipids and contribute to the prevention of complications of obesity. However, in reality, the scientific data is less unanimous and tends to put their effectiveness into perspective. In fact, data from two clinical studies show no effect on weight loss in overweight adults.

Obviously, only, Chia seeds are ineffective: they cannot cause weight loss, it's a boost! The whole dietary, sports (etc.) habits must be reviewed to ensure a stable weight loss. In short, Chia seeds go a long way towards weight loss. For it to be effective, a comprehensive management is essential.

How to consume them?

To participate in weight loss, there are two main ways to consume seeds:

  • Nutritional cure: in a glass of water, add a tablespoon of Chia seeds. Stir vigorously to solubilize the Chia seeds in the water. Let stand (at least 12 h). Before each meal, consume a glass of water with Chia seeds (2 times per day maximum). Continue the cure at most 10 days. Please introduce gradually the cure, for example, by beginning with only one glass per day.
  • Daily integration: Chia seeds have no taste, so they can join all culinary preparations: dairy, sauces, soups, raw vegetables, salty dishes or desserts. It is also possible to replace eggs by Chia seeds (one tablespoon corresponds to one egg), or flour by ground Chia seeds in your recipes. Thus, count maximum 1 tablespoon of Chia seeds (20 g) per day.
Organic Chia seeds rich in omega-3

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