Chia Seeds are an awesome superfood that are packed with nutrition and health benefits. (Learn more about chia seeds in our Chia Seed Guide)
Did you know that Chia Seeds might also help to aid you in weight loss as well?
In this post, you’ll learn why Chia Seeds could help you to lose weight, as well as how to use Chia Seeds in order to do so.
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are tiny little black, white and grey seeds, that come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica. They are usually found growing in Mexico.
These seeds, like most plant-based foods, are actually packed with nutrition and health benefits. They are actually so good, that they’ve earned the title of being a superfood.
What are the Benefits of Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds provide lots and lots of fiber. Fiber is an essential nutrient that most people are not good enough of.
In addition, chia seeds also are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants are powerful disease and cancer-fighting nutrients.
Chia seeds also contain lots of Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s are another nutrient that a lot of people are not getting enough of. So, chia seeds can help to increase your Omega 3 intake.
Finally, chia seeds also have some plant-based protein. And they give you a lot of vitamins and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, calcium, and B vitamins.
So, you can see, even from these tiny seeds, you can get huge nutritional benefits!
See all chia seeds benefits at Chia Seeds Benefits (For Health, Skin and Hair).
How Do Chia Seeds Help With Weight Loss?
Chia seeds can help with weight loss, mainly due to their extremely high fiber content. Chia seeds are the highest-fiber food I’ve ever found. (If you know of a higher fiber food, let me know and leave a comment below!)
In fact, just 2.5 tablespoons of chia seeds give a whopping 35% of daily fiber intake! So, how does fiber help with weight loss?
Well, first of all, fiber can slow your digestion down, and also make you feel fuller and more satiated for longer. This means you will have less of a desire to eat more.
The soluble fiber in chia seeds takes up extra space in the stomach and also slows digestion down, which also slows the release of blood sugar. This means fewer blood sugar spikes and feelings of hunger.
Fiber is also essential for healthy digestion and a healthy microbiome. As science is learning more about the topic, it is being found that a lot of weight management might have more to do with our digestive health, and the type of microbiome that our guts have.
A healthier microbiome, which fiber and plant-based foods help to give, could translate into a slimmer waistline and less fat.
Also, chia seeds carry valuable nutrients with them, including some protein. It’s been found that protein might help to reduce appetite. Also, if your body is not getting enough nutrients, it might try to make up for that by eating more food. So, nutrient-dense food might help you eat less since your body is already getting the nutrients it is trying to get in order to survive.
In fact, a plant-based diet, in general, has been shown to help with weight loss. Just check out this post about a study, in which a low-fat vegan diet (plant-based) well-outperformed participants’ control diets. See Vegan Diet for Weight Loss Shown to be Very Effective.
(You can get started on a vegan diet with the 1 Month Vegan Challenge.)
So, while chia seeds can help with weight loss, they aren’t just the only thing that should be done for losing weight. You should also try to eat healthy (whole-food plant-based) and exercise. I first started losing weight without trying, and also lowered my blood pressure, by gradually doing a plant-based diet. And chia seeds became a part of that diet.
Basically, I started eating plant-based (vegetarian) for my health. I started to automatically lose weight at the same time. When I became even stricter and ate more whole foods and did the WFPBNO diet, I lost even more weight. And also, when I tried vegan, I lost even more weight after that.
If you are looking for some good plant-based recipes, you can find good ones in the Plant-Based Cookbook eBook.
Are There Any Studies on Chia Seeds for Weight Loss?
Yes, there have been a couple of studies on chia seeds for weight loss. One of the studies found chia seeds to significantly help with weight loss, the other found no difference, and a third study found them to help with appetite. So, the majority of the time, there have been positive results.
The first study found that participants who were eating chia seeds added to yogurt helped to reduce their appetites, compared to those who were not eating chia seeds in their morning yogurt.
As far as weight loss, a shorter study, of 12 weeks, found no effect in weight loss from eating chia seeds.
But, a longer study, that lasted for 6 months, found a significant reduction in weight from those supplementing with chia seeds.
So, maybe they just need to be taken long enough. If they truly are changing the microbiome for the good, it may be that these changes need enough time to take effect on the body and start showing results. (It won’t happen overnight or in the short term)
This is true of any plant-based eating. The results will probably not be seen immediately, but more gradually over an extended period of time.
How Do You Use Chia Seeds for Weight Loss?
Chia seeds are not too hard to use for weight loss. The good thing about chia seeds is that they are tasteless and odorless, meaning you can put them on a lot of things pretty easily, and not even notice. Learn more at What Do Chia Seeds Taste Like? How to Make Them Taste Good.
(You can find our chia seed recipes at Chia Seed Recipes)
They are also easy to find. You can even get the kind that I use down at your local Walmart or online at this link: Check Chia Seeds at Walmart. They are also not too expensive.
Another good source for low-cost chia seeds and the best bulk price is here at Low-Cost Chia Seeds.
Sprinkle Chia Seeds on Food
Chia seeds are pretty versatile, and since they are tasteless, that means you can sprinkle them on pretty much anything you might like!
Really you can use your imagination here, there is no limit to what you could add chia seeds to. Oatmeal is a good option, or maybe even salad. Really, anything you are eating.
I recommend grinding your chia seeds if you can. (Here’s why: Ground Chia Seeds vs. Whole Chia Seeds – Which is Better?)
I just wouldn’t boil or cook my chia seeds in oatmeal, rice, or water as some might do. Here’s why: Can You Boil Chia Seeds? Here’s Why I Wouldn’t.
Soak Chia Seeds
This is one of my favorite methods for eating chia seeds, and it’s actually how I eat chia seeds every day. Chia seeds have an interesting property in which they will absorb a tremendous amount of water relative to their weight. This will then form a gel-like substance.
Learn how I soak my chia seeds and how you can too at How to Soak Chia Seeds in Water or Almond Milk Before Eating. It’s actually pretty easy.
This chia seed gel can then be added to anything you might want to. Commonly, I add it to our oatmeal in the mornings.
Also, if you are in a hurry, you can soak chia seeds within 15 minutes to an hour (but they will still be partially clumpy). Preferably, you soak them overnight. Here’s more info on how long to soak chia seeds at How Long to Soak Chia Seeds in Water, Almond or Coconut Milk.
Here you can see all this site’s articles on soaked chia seeds.
And below is a video I made as well on how to soak chia seeds.
Bake with Chia Seeds
So another great thing about chia seeds is that you can bake with them. Dry chia seeds can be added to pretty much any baked good you might think of. This includes bread, muffins, breakfast bars, granola bars, energy bars, crackers, pancakes, jam, and even cookies.
Just add some dry chia seeds to whatever batter you are going to bake. Just don’t overdo it, or the chia seeds might overwhelm the original item.
You can also bake with chia seeds by using chia seeds as an egg substitute. Surprisingly, chia seeds can take the place of eggs in any baking recipe.
Drink Chia Seed Water
Chia Water is a great way to get chia seeds into your system throughout the day. This can help you feel full for longer and also help control your blood sugar levels. (Learn all about chia water at Chia Seed Water – Complete Guide with Easy Recipe)
Chia seed water is basically, just water you would normally drink during the day, but with some chia seeds added to it.
All you really need to do is add about a tablespoon of chia seeds to a glass of water (8-10 ounces or so) and mix it up. Then drink it after 5-10 minutes.
You can also add lemon or lime juice in order to flavor it.
Water is always good and important to drink during the day anyway. I’ve actually found that one study found that 100% of overweight or obese individuals, were found to be chronically dehydrated.
So, the link between dehydration and obesity might be tremendous.
This, in turn, might be a good way to get both water and chia seeds during the day and stay hydrated.
Chia Seed Pudding
The next popular option to eat chia seeds is what’s called chia seed pudding.
Chia seed pudding is a healthier alternative to regular pudding. (And your kids might even like it too!)
Basically, you mix chia seeds into a plant-based milk like soy milk (which I recommend) or almond milk. Just like when you soak chia seeds in water, after a couple of hours or so, the chia seeds will form a gel and the entire mixture will thicken.
So, you’ll get a substance that is similar to pudding. You can also add honey or maple syrup as a healthy sweetener. Furthermore, you could add vanilla flavoring to make vanilla chia seed pudding or cacao to make some chocolate chia seed pudding. Or, you could add berries to make it berry flavored.
There are numerous different recipes depending on what flavor of chia seed pudding you are looking to make.
Add Chia Seeds to Smoothies
I was a big fan of smoothies when I first started going plant-based. I still think they are a great option.
The good thing is that chia seeds can easily be added to pretty much any smoothie recipe.
You can start incorporating healthy smoothies into your diet with the Smoothie Diet.
Oats and Chia Seeds for Weight Loss
Oats and chia seeds are a great option for weight loss. Both chia seeds and oatmeal are high in fiber, which helps you to feel full.
Also, it’s super easy to add chia seeds to oatmeal. (See Oats and Chia Seeds for Weight Loss Recipe)
Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds
Another option to use chia seeds is to add them to your overnight oats. Overnight oats are basically where you take some oatmeal and add the liquid to it the night before.
After placing it in the fridge, the next morning it will have absorbed the water, become soft, and will then be ready to eat.
You can easily just place the chia seeds into the overnight oats mixture, and they all will absorb the water and soften with the oatmeal overnight.
Add Chia Seeds to Breakfast Oatmeal
I usually add either ground-up or soaked chia seeds to my oatmeal in the morning. Previously I was soaking my chia seeds but recently found that grinding the chia seeds helps the body to absorb even more of the healthy fats.
You can find my Healthy WFPB Breakfast Oatmeal Recipe here.
Best Time to Drink Chia Seeds for Weight Loss
The best time to drink chia seeds for weight loss is in the morning. This is because the fiber in chia seeds will help you to feel full for longer throughout the day. Also, the chia seeds will help to stabilize your blood sugar levels, leading to fewer crashes later on when you need to eat food.
Then, you are going to want to also drink chia seeds throughout the day, especially for lunch or an afternoon snack. In addition, you could also consider drinking chia water during your meals to help you eat less.
If you’re looking to drink chia seeds for weight loss, there really is no need to drink them before going to bed. Since you are sleeping anyway, there is no benefit in trying to suppress your appetite while you are sleeping.
Because of this, the best time is usually in the morning, followed up with drinking more throughout the day up until the evening.
Best Time to Eat Chia Seeds for Weight Loss
Eating chia seeds is pretty much the same as drinking them. You want to eat chia seeds in the morning if possible. This helps you to feel full for longer throughout the day.
This can be done by soaking chia seeds or grinding them and adding them to your breakfast oatmeal, or whatever else you might be eating. Or, you could just make a chia seed pudding to eat in the morning.
Then, for the rest of the day, if you aren’t drinking chia water, then it’s best to eat more chia seeds throughout the day. This could be lunch and also for a snack or dinner. (As a snack, you could maybe eat chia pudding.)
You could also add raw or ground chia seeds to your foods throughout the day by sprinkling them on top. Salads or soups would work great for this.
How Much Chia Seeds Should I Eat to Lose Weight?
As far as how much chia seeds to eat, there are a couple of variables. I cover all of this in How Much Chia Seeds Per Day Should You Eat?
But for eating chia seeds for weight loss, I think a higher number of around 4-5 tablespoons a day is a good amount to try to eat and work your way up to. This will ensure that you are getting plenty of fiber and feeling full throughout the day. Even if you don’t get up to 4-5 tablespoons a day, a good moderate amount for weight loss would be around 2 tablespoons.
But, you need to work your way up to these numbers slowly. Chia seeds have lots of fiber. Your body might not be able to handle the extra fiber, which might give you an upset stomach if you try to eat too much.
So start with 1 tablespoon, and increase this amount by 1 tablespoon or a half tablespoon each day, as long as your body feels fine. Keep increasing until you arrive at your target amount of chia seeds to eat per day.
Chia Seeds Weight Loss Side Effects
The good news is there really aren’t any concerning side effects from eating chia seeds for weight loss. Chia seeds are a natural food, and not a medicine that might carry harmful effects.
But, there is one side effect to be aware of. Chia seeds are very high in fiber. If you eat too much fiber, your stomach and digestive system can become upset.
Because of this, I recommend starting with only about 1 tablespoon of chia seeds per day, and seeing how your system reacts to the fiber. If you are ok, then you can increase this amount by 1 more tablespoon and see how your body reacts. Keep doing this until you hit the target amount of chia seeds you want to eat per day.
Chia Seed Side Effects
Besides the possible digestive discomfort from an increase in fiber, there are a couple of potential side effects of chia seeds to be aware of.
Consult your physician if you are taking any blood thinners, blood pressure medications, or diabetes medications. This is because chia seeds can lower blood pressure or blood sugar levels, which could be a problem for those on these medications.
Also, it’s rare but some people have had allergic reactions to chia seeds. Another rare occurrence with chia seeds is a possible choking hazard. This can be caused by eating raw chia seeds which might get stuck in the throat when they absorb water. You can soak chia seeds first to avoid this or just avoid eating too many raw chia seeds at one time.
Learn more at (Chia Seeds Benefits and Side Effects)
Chia seeds might be good for weight loss, and at the very least they are good for our health. This is why I think it’s a good idea to eat chia seeds every day, even if you are not trying to lose weight.
Chia seeds are so versatile, and there are many different ways to use them in order to lose weight.
Are there any other methods to use chia seeds that I didn’t mention here? Or have you tried any of these ways, and what were your results? Let me know and comment below!