In an age, where the markets are flooded with weight-loss supplements that promise to deliver results “fast”, ditching these products with side-effects and opting for slow results from natural foods is the best decision you can make.
One such nature’s gift are chia seeds, which come from South and Central America. These black-and-white miniatures swell up and develop a jelly-like texture when soaked in water (much like our desi sabja seeds) and are now easily available in the Indian markets as well.
Needless to say, their international origin has turned them into a much-hyped weight-loss elixir. But does the reality of chia seeds live up to the hype? Let’s find out:
Why are chia seeds deemed as weight-loss friendly?
Chia seeds have a host of scientifically-proven health advantages that can promote weight loss
1. They’re a powerhouse of fibre: From keeping you satiated for a long time to curbing your appetite and preventing unnecessary food cravings–the power of the hard-to-digest dietary fibre is undisputed.
FYI, chia seeds are loaded with fibre and thus, can do the needful. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition supports this claim and reassures that eating chia seeds can lead to a reduced appetite and food cravings.
2. The good fats can help you burn fat: According to a 2012 review, chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which in lay man’s language are the good fats that can help you burn more fat. In fact, even the fats can keep you satiated for a long time as they too take time to get broken down by the body.
3. They can boost your metabolism: The same review mentioned above also talks about the metabolism-boosting power of chia seeds. Hence, consuming them can help you burn more calories during the day. The result? No points for guessing–faster, smoother weight loss.
4. They’re loaded with antioxidants: Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which can help you get rid of the toxins from your body, reduce inflammation, and promote fat burn as well as growth of the friendly bacteria in the gut, thus aiding weight loss.
So, then why are chia’s weight-loss properties disputed?
Surely, these amazing qualities of chia seeds would make you want to count on them for weight loss. And probably after going through its weight-loss benefits, you might be wondering why their effectiveness is questioned in the first place.
Well, firstly, a study conducted in 2009 found this hype around chia seeds to be bogus as the participants of the study, who consumed the seeds showed no progress in their weight-loss despite eating chia seeds.
Secondly, as common sense would dictate, if you’re eating chia seeds for the sake of losing weight, but also eating junk food and high-calorie foods along with it, you’re just really wasting your time and those expensive seeds.
Lastly, chia seeds are relatively high in calories. With two tablespoons of it containing almost 140 calories, you could be exceeding your regular calorie intake and end up gaining weight instead of losing it. Hence, eating them in moderation along with following a healthy diet is the key here.
So, should you give in to the hype?
Well, apart from weight loss, chia seeds have been proven to promote heart health, give you a healthier skin, and keep your gut healthy. So, you can defo include them in your diet, we say.
For weight-loss purposes, a research conducted in 2015 recommends eating 30 grams of fibre daily to lose as much weight as you could by following a strict, complicated diet. Apart from whole grains, fruits and veggies, you can add chia seeds to your yogurt, smoothies, shakes, and salads to meet the 30-gram mark and enjoy the weight loss.