Fact Check: Are Chia Seeds effective for fat loss?

Quick Take

A number of diet-related articles promote Chia seeds as a magic ingredient for weight loss goals. Similarly, a few viral social media posts suggest a mixture of Chia Seeds, Lemon and Honey will burn away fat in 30 days. We fact-checked and found that these claims are Half True.

The Claim

There are a lot of suggestions and diet-related articles on the internet about Chia seeds and Chia seeds-induced drinks that allegedly help reduce weight.

Archived versions of such posts can be seen here and here.

Fact Check

Can Chia seeds help reduce weight?

There is limited evidence regarding Chia seeds’ ability to reduce weight.

In a study done in 2014 on only 26 participants, researchers measured the effect of adding Chia seeds to diet. It was found that over a period of 12 weeks, people who ate Chia seeds noted significant weight loss.

In another study done with over 77 participants with Type 2 Diabetes over a period of 6 months, Chia seeds showed some effect in aiding weight loss.

In contrast, in a study done on 90 overweight people over a period of 12 weeks, Chia seeds showed no effect on body weight. Similarly, in another 10-week study on 62 women, Chia seeds had no effect on body weight.

It needs to be noted that all of these are comparatively smaller studies. While further researches are required to establish the effectiveness of Chia seeds in weight loss, they certainly are not magic pills that can cause a quick fat loss. Chia seeds may aid fat loss as a catalyst but a controlled diet plan and a healthy lifestyle is important to have any desired result – most articles and social media posts miss this important context.

Should you be drinking Chia seeds, Lemon water drink to lose weight?

Health experts advise caution before jumping into any sort of diet plan.

Dt. Melanie Dsouza

Clinical Dietitian Melanie Dsouza says, “Such generic suggestions about diet are always dangerous. A certified health professional would never recommend only chia seeds with lemon water for weight loss. One would integrate it as part of the balanced diet planned after understanding a person’s medical history. A balanced diet is a key to a healthy sustainable weight/ fat loss rather than quick-fix solutions. Anything above moderation may have detrimental effects on the body .”

Dietitian and Nutritionist Kajal Gupta says, “Chia seeds are healthy. Lime water is healthy. They can both be part of your weight loss diet. But it is wrong to think they alone can help you lose weight. A controlled diet and exercise regime are always important. Moreover words like ‘fast’, ‘quickly’ should not be associated with weight loss programs. It will be best if you consult a certified medical professional and create a diet chart based on your body’s fat composition, medical history, etc.”

Dsouza further warns, “If one continues to follow such limited food group diets for a long time, they would be at great risk for nutrient deficiency ( as these kinds of diets upset the gut, imbalanced nutrition, etc). It could also lead to medical complications if unsupervised.”

Are Chia seeds healthy otherwise?

As per nutrition value, Chia seeds are considered to be very healthy. Apart from calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium, they also contain several antioxidants and are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Few studies show that they can help control blood pressure in people with hypertension and also can help prevent heart diseases, especially in people with Type 2 Diabetes.

However, since Chia seeds act as natural blood thinners, it is necessary to exercise caution if you are being prescribed blood-thinning drugs already.

Dsouza adds a tip, “Always soak the chia seeds before having them to avoid any gut disturbances and better digestion.”

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