Is Chia Seed Water a Magic Weight Loss Potion? According to proponents of the latest TikTok viral health trend, drinking the super seed soaked in H2O may be key to preventing overeating and ultimately helping with weight loss.
TikTok user @happyandhealthyolivia shared the health hack as part of their popular “TikTok Health Trends That Really Work” series. The short video has been viewed over 12.4 million times since June 28 and includes a demonstration of how the alleged weight loss drink is made. “Simply combine 1 tablespoon [tbsp] Chia seeds with a glass of water (optional: add lime) and drink 30 minutes before meals, ”she says, explaining that they increase the feeling of satiety.
Another user, @kanipark, mixes up her chia seed water and brags 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 help your digestion and improve bowel movements. Great for your protein intake, heart health, bone health, blood sugar control, digestion, weight loss, and inflammation, ”she writes. “It doesn’t taste like anything, but it doesn’t taste good either. But when I drink the whole thing, I know that I’ll be full because it’s super fat. “
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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 get their name from Aztec warriors who used them as survival food.
There is no research on chia seed water for weight loss, and there is a lack of rigorous research even on chia seeds alone to suggest they offer this benefit. For example, a small Brazilian study published in Nutricion Hospitalaria in 2015 that included 26 overweight or obese men and women found that consuming 35 grams (about 3 tablespoons) of chia seeds daily for 12 weeks resulted in weight loss. That is, the study was small and short-lived.
Still, it can make sense to add chia seeds to your weight loss diet. “Chia seeds are high in fiber, which can help increase feelings of satiety,” says Tara Collingwood, RDN, based in Orlando, Florida. They’re also a good source of protein and fat, which can both satiate you and prevent overeating, she points out. Just 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) of the tiny black seeds contains 4.7 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber (an excellent source), and 9 grams of fat (almost entirely the good variety), according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“Bottom line, chia seeds can help prevent hunger because they take longer to digest.” However, drinking one glass of chia seed water a day won’t reverse the damage caused by poor diet or excess calories.
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What Are Other Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds?
When you eat chia seeds, you are getting more than one potential weight loss benefit.
“Chia seeds are tiny, but they contain more nutrients than you think,” says Collingwood. Often referred to as “superfood”, they are packed full of omega-3 fatty acids (from alpha lipoic acids or ALAs, the vegetable form of fatty acids), antioxidants, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc, she notes.
An earlier review published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology in April 2016 suggested that chia seeds contain antioxidants that can protect the liver and heart and help extend lifespan and keep cancer at bay. The researchers also suggested that being an abundant source of fiber, it can aid digestion and treat health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression.
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How do you make chia seed water?
If you’re still looking to whip up chia seed water, Collingwood recommends soaking them in water for 30 minutes, or until they have a “tapioca-like gel consistency”. There’s no set ratio of water to chia seeds, but vloggers on TikTok use 1 tablespoon of the seeds in a typical glass of water.
While mixing chia with water doesn’t improve the seeds’ potential weight loss benefits, it does make them more palatable, let alone make them safer to eat. (As Time previously reported, the super seeds can pose a choking risk when consumed alone in raw form and in excess.)
If it’s not your mind to drink chia seeds, try eating them dry on salads or in baked goods like bread or pancakes, suggests Collingwood. You can also add them to smoothies or use them to whip up a chia seed pudding for breakfast or as a snack. To make the latter, just mix chia seeds into your favorite milk and let them sit overnight, says Collingwood. Add other mixes like fresh fruit, nuts, and sweeteners if you like. In a chia pudding recipe, the blogger Love and Lemons recommends 1½ cup of milk to ¼ cup of chia, as well as other delicious mixtures such as cinnamon and fresh lemon or orange juice.
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Are there any health risks from drinking chia seeds?
Since chia seeds are nutrient-dense and contain a decent amount of calories and fat per serving, you should eat them in moderation. A typical serving size of chia seeds is 2 tablespoons, which according to the USDA contains around 138 calories.
Also, because chia seeds are so high in fiber, Collingwood urges you to get enough water or some other liquid to wash them down. This will help promote digestion and prevent constipation, gas, and other digestive problems associated with consuming too much fiber without water. If your diet is currently low in fiber, you should gradually increase your fiber intake as well, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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Bottom line: should you try chia seed water?
So, is TikToker on something by drinking chia seed water for weight loss? According to Collingwood, when combined with a mindful, healthy diet, chia seeds can help you lose weight. “Chia fills you up and can help prevent cravings and eat more later in the day, as long as someone is watching the portions and making sure their body tells them whether they are hungry or full,” she explains.
But chia seeds are not a silver bullet for weight loss. They don’t burn extra calories or increase your metabolism in any way. If you consume too much of them, you may gain weight instead.
However, adding a tablespoon to your water can help fill you up and keep you from eating more – in addition to other health benefits.
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