A growing trend recently has been the recommendation of eating chia seeds for weight loss.
Chia seeds (Salvia Hispanica), believe it or not are the same seeds that are contained in the Chia Pet, a silly clay pottery figure brought to you by the makers of everyone’s favorite- The Clapper.
There’s Chia Pet, the ridiculous looking Chia Head, even a Chia Homer Simpson. DOH!
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How to Use Chia Seeds for Weight Loss?
The first time I had Chia seed was back around 2005 at a health seminar. At the back of the place they were selling all the well known protein and meal replacement bars but I noticed a new funky looking one I hadn’t tried before-The Coco Chia bar.
It had chia seeds and coconut as the main ingredients. I love coconut and never had chia seeds before so I went for it. The bar was delicious and had a very nice texture from the chia seeds.
I ended up buying a box of 12 and loved them, but I wasn’t thrilled about the miniscule amount of protein in the bar so I didn’t bother ordering more. Come to think of it, I haven’t really seen the Coco Chia bar in stores often anyway.
What Are Chia Seeds?
Well, Chia are edible seeds that look sort of like poppy seeds, only more on the grayish/black side as opposed to blue. According to several sources, they were a valuable source of nutrition for the Aztec warriors and Mayans thousands of years ago.
Chia seeds are actually packed with fiber (an ounce packs a punch of 11 grams of fiber). As you know, we’re a big fan of getting more fiber in your diet for weight loss.
They are also high in Omega- 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and a host of other valuable micronutrients.
Chia are often promoted as heart-healthy because, that they’re rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids. However, the majority of the omega-3 fatty acid in chia seeds is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Can Chia Seeds Help Weight Loss?
It depends. There’s been one study done on chia seeds for weight loss where researchers split 76 obese men and woman into 2 groups. On the dieting plans, one of the groups was given 50 grams per day, split twice per day- 25 grams before breakfast and 25 grams before dinner. After 12 weeks there was no significant weight loss found.
While this is an interesting study, I’m not so sure I’d write off chia seeds for weight loss just yet. That’s only one way of using chia seeds.
Benefits of Chia Seeds
As you know, to lose weight you need to take in less calories than you burn during the day. You may be able to experiment with other ways to using the chia seed diets that could possibly help “take in less calories” part of the equation.
Chia seeds are not a magic weight loss food. They do not increase your metabolic rate or get your heart cranking. But they do hold some interesting physical characteristics that you may be able to take advantage of.
How to Eat Chia Seeds
- The chia seed is hydrophilic, meaning it attracts water. It will also form a gel when left in water for a while.
- Try putting 2 tablespoons of chia into a glass of water and within about 20 minutes, you will have a glass full of what looks like clear hair gel with black dots.
- The benefit of this gel is that when ingested, it can help slow digestion, making you feel fuller longer.
- Now, to put this into action you can add it to foods that have a similar texture- yogurt, Jell- O, jellies, your favorite sauces, protein puddings, anywhere cream is used.
You get the idea. Try some, experiment and tell me how it went.
What Do Chia Seeds Taste Like?
I’ve tasted the dry seeds and it’s faintly nutty. Very faintly. When you make a gel out of it, it tastes like nothing.
Are there any side effects of eating chia?
They get stuck in your teeth sort of like poppy seeds. DOH!
Lets get down to brass tacks- weight loss.
How many hours and days and weeks have you spent trying to flatten that tummy? No matter what you do you still have that pooch or sag or other unsightly thing where your flat tummy is supposed to be!
Women in particular have the extra challenges associated with losing belly fat. Part of it is the result of genetics and part of it is well within your control. If you want the weight loss in this area there are some simple techniques for achieving this goal.
As silly as it sounds for a weight loss suggestion, here goes – chew your food thoroughly!
Chia Seeds to Decrease Appetite
Studies have shown this helps for several reasons. It assists your body to digest and extract the necessary nutrients. It also slows your eating so that you are full more quickly and, therefore, eat less.
The trick here is to stop eating when you feel full.
Chia seeds come in handy here. Mix some chia in water, let them gel, and then drink around 30 minutes before your meal.
It is also a tempting thing to nibble from other people’s plates – stop. You may not remember that bite of cake, but your body does.
One of the keys to maintaining a healthy weight is your metabolism. Metabolism increases the way you burn and use calories.
The faster your metabolism, the faster you burn calories. Obviously, you want a fast metabolism so that your can keep off extra weight.
Your metabolism is based upon many factors. Some are uncontrollable, like genetic factors. Sometimes you can influence it, though. One way that you can speed up your metabolism is by eating every 4 hours with adequate protein and fiber, which you can get from chia.
Protein and Fiber
It has been shown in various studies that eating smaller meals throughout the day is more beneficial to weight loss than eating just a few larger meals everyday.
Eating every 4 hours will allow you to get your metabolism up. You will burn calories throughout the day instead of experiencing the ups and downs that usually happen with a regular way of eating.
The key to establishing a 4 hour eating habit is to plan your diet carefully. You need to make sure that the meals you eat are small and that you do not consume too many calories. Plan out your meals so that you eat a stable amount of calories throughout the day.
It can take a while to establish this new eating habit. You may have to force yourself to eat every 4 hours, but it will gradually become a healthy habit that sticks. It will usually only take a couple weeks for the new dieting habits to stick.
You should begin your day eating your first meal no more than an hour after you get up. Then eat every 4 hours throughout the day. Your meals should be at least 200 calories each.
You can eat 3 larger meals as you normally do with a couple snacks. This may be easier for you than trying to eat actual meals every 4 hours.
Another benefit of eating every 4 hours is that your body will not have the chance to be hungry. Proper nutrition keeps away cravings and feel like you are eating more than usual.
As long as you watch the calories at each meal and snack, you will not be eating more, just eating with a better method.
After a while, eating every 4 hours will become easy. You will feel hungry when you are supposed to eat. When you reach that point, you will know that you have made a healthy eating habit that will stick.
Incorporating Them Into Your Weight Loss Program
Participate in some type of aerobic exercise in your weight loss program at least three times a week for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. This will burn fat and tone the area if you add some crunches to the program.
Good posture has also been shown to increase the strength in this area, so sit up straight at that desk. Increasing core, or mid-section of the body, strength also helps alleviate back pain. We now know that support for the back is directly proportional to strengthening the front.
Avoid fast foods if you want your weight loss to be successful. This “food” is loaded with everything that is bad for your body including indigestible ingredients. It has very negligible nutritional value and gets converted to the reserve section of your body – a.k.a., belly fat.
Even though chia are tiny seeds, they are actually packed with antioxidants for their size. Antioxidants can help speed recovery from a tough workout, and they can help quench free radicals from too much stress. This can have a great impact over time as the antioxidant action can fight off health issues related to aging.
The seeds are also gluten-free, so folks with Celiac or whole grain sensitivity issues shouldn’t have a problem.
Carry healthy snacks suck as chia seed bars with you for those on-the-go times instead of pulling through the drive-through. Also, drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated and running smoothly.
With these tips, weight loss and flat tummy is in your future.