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Small seeds from big weight: do chia help to lose weight



Chia seeds confidently won their place in a number of products with which losing weight have special hopes. This was taken care of and reviews, and advertising, and the attention of some doctors. Is it worth hoping for the help of an Indian drug in the responsible matter of getting rid of extra kilos or is it better not to flatter oneself?

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Native American Magic: Lots of Food From Nothing

"The sellers of healthy food were very lucky that the extinct ancient civilizations did not leave legal successors, otherwise they would have to fork out seriously to compensate for the use of the image," they write in the publication The next legacy of relict Indians, which appeared on sale after quinoa, spirulina, amaranth, was chia seeds, which immediately fell into the list of superfoods - products that have an outstanding effect on metabolism.

The main expectations from superfoods are related to their ability to help in losing weight. Sunflower seeds and nuts are an indisputable concentrate of benefits and an integral part of any healthy diet. But, alas, no matter how we like to crunch nuts, they contain an unjustly many calories, you will not have time to try out how it's time to stop.

The edible seeds of the desert plant Salvia hispanica (Spanish sage), common in Mexico and Guatemala, are a special case. Upon contact with liquid, they increase in size twelve times and turn into jelly. These seeds are known throughout the world today as chia seeds.

For this wonderful ability of chia to transform, one should thank the high content in the seeds of insoluble fiber, carbohydrate with a long chain of assimilation. Fiber absorbs water and swells; from a couple of teaspoons of seeds you can get a fully-fledged dish that pleases both the eye and the stomach. You can use these seeds in dry form or as an additive to drinks, salads, sauces, cereals - then they will turn into gel already inside the body and the effect will be the same (of course, if you do not torment yourself with thirst and drink enough water).

A tablespoon (about 30 gr) of chia contains about 11 gr of fiber, and this is a third of its daily amount recommended by adult nutritionists.

Chia seeds for weight loss: what to expect?

  • the possibility of avoiding the feeling of an empty stomach;
  • a longer feeling of satiety;
  • less risk of overeating;
  • lowering blood sugar due to the long processing of fiber;
  • normalization of the intestines and the creation of a favorable environment for the development of beneficial microflora.

Chia seeds: a special composition

Of course, not for useful, but non-expressive fiber, the ancient Indians appreciated chia seeds and gave them a respectful name (chia in the forgotten South American dialects means "strength").

One hundred grams of dry chia seeds contain 31% fat (3% of which are saturated, the rest are not), 17% protein, 42% carbohydrates, of which 34% is fiber. Energy value of chia - 486 kcal.

The main feature in the composition of chia seeds is the high content of omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids (five grams in the notorious thirty-gram serving). This special type of healthy fat is required by the human brain and nervous system as fuel for recovery and development, and natural sources of it are literally worth their weight in gold on the modern man's menu. It is important that omega-3 fat, as shown by American studies, is preserved under the dense shell of the seeds, without going rancid and without losing useful properties, even if chia is cooked.

Omega-3 acids are necessary for healthy weight loss - they accelerate the metabolism and “drive out” old fat deposits due to the ability to activate PPAR-alpha protein, which prevents the accumulation of fat by the liver and destroys its subcutaneous fat. Still unsaturated fatty acids, according to studies by Spanish scientists, allow a person who eats them to maintain a pleasant feeling of satiety for longer, which in the case of chia seeds means a real double blow to hunger, which fiber has already begun to fight.

On the subject: Why are vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose-free foods not as healthy as they tell us?

Vegetarians value chia as a source of protein, in the amino acids of which tryptophan is not typical of plant foods. The human body is not able to synthesize this substance indispensable for the nervous system on its own, and for those who do not use, for example, poultry and dairy products, replenishment of tryptophan becomes a real problem.

Chia seeds also contain calcium, manganese and phosphorus, which are necessary for bones, teeth and muscles. If you are ready to add about 100 grams of chia seeds in dry equivalent to your daily diet (this will cost you at least 200 rubles), then you can expect to cover about 20-30% of your daily requirement for these substances.

It is vital to note that chia contribute to a drop in blood pressure and therefore are not recommended for those who have it below normal. Also, you can not combine the intake of these seeds with blood thinners, and you should refrain from food exotic during pregnancy and lactation.

Fifty Shades of Chia

Chia seeds on sale often differ significantly in appearance: from dark, almost black, to gray, cream, white ... Is there any difference and which ones are more useful?

An enthusiastic chia seed researcher, Professor Wayne Coats from the University of Arizona confidently states that all chia seeds are nearly equally healthy, and choosing their color is a matter of purely aesthetic preference. Different seeds may vary slightly in the content of useful elements, but it is not the hue of the shell that is responsible for this, but the composition of the soil in the place where the Spanish sage grew.

The only color that can alert you when choosing chia seeds is red. It means that the product is harvested before it has matured, and probably has not yet had time to gain strength. Also an indicator of higher varietal qualities is the size of the seeds. If you have a choice, take those that are larger!

Doctors' reviews about chia seeds for weight loss: there is no consensus

In the great dietary world, chia seeds were brought up by the famous French doctor Pierre Ducane. In an interview with, he did not hide his enthusiasm for exploring Native American food: “I am shocked by their properties! Mexicans have huge culinary experience in the processing of chia, and we can borrow it. Due to the fact that they swell a lot, they can be used for desserts. In Mexico, tomatoes are stuffed with these seeds, and it turns out something amazing. " Recently, one tablespoon of chia is allowed on the Ducan diet, which is not so small, given their ability to increase in volume, and the author of the diet insists that chia is necessary for everyone who wants to lose weight and stay healthy.

His Russian colleagues, however, speak of the Native American "seed of power" with some skepticism. For example, the well-known nutritionist Rimma Moisenko, in principle, does not believe in superfoods and the special opportunities for losing weight that supposedly open with their use. “The term superfoods was coined by marketers and is neither medical nor scientific. This is a business whose scheme is simple: exotic products are selected, hitherto unknown to anyone, and become the object of a grand advertising campaign. Also, one of our enterprising compatriots can crush a leaf of plantain into powder, sell it as a miracle cure for losing weight in Mexico, the homeland of superfoods and at the same time the world leader in the number of fat people, and thus improve the economic situation of the country. ”

Nutritionist Elena Tikhomirova recognizes the valuable composition, but warns: “Chia seeds are really useful, but not more useful, for example, flax seeds. In addition, they are high-calorie, like any seeds and nuts. They are not a wonderful tool for losing chia, but if you use them intensively, that is, there is a high probability on the contrary, to gain weight. In addition, they can provoke an allergic reaction. "

“Fish and dairy products are the usual sources of protein, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids on the tables of Russians,” reminds nutritionist Tatyana Zaletova. "Chia seeds are indeed high in these substances, but there is no specific data on how the human body reacts to them when they come from this source."

North Carolina State University conducted an experiment using chia seeds. It lasted 12 weeks; during this period, volunteers received 50 gr chia daily in the bite of their usual diet. Control studies showed that the subjects had slightly improved indicators of heart health, but the weight and amount of fat in the body remained unchanged.

Unfortunately, the Aztecs and Mayans went into oblivion and left us no instructions on how to use chia seeds correctly and for their own good. However, even without their evidence, it’s more or less clear: the Indian seeds will not hurt the daily menu, but the accumulated fat will not be forced to melt as if by magic. But they can give new gastronomic impressions - the chia tastes quite pleasant, and not all superfoods can boast of this.

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