Wednesday Bubble: ‘ch ch ch Chia’

Posted by on Jan 26, 2011 in weight | 3 comments


I ran across a piece in yesterday’s New York Times that has ‘Wednesday Bubble’ written all over it: the connection between weight loss and chia seeds.  WHAT?!

If you are as old as me, you will remember when Chia Pets first hit market; they were all the craze. Water the terracotta figurine and grow ‘hair.’ Somehow, Chia has both made its way into the “stupid” hall of fame and just keeps on giving; in fact, I’ve lost track of its many iterations since it first appeared on the scene. And yet, it appears that the ‘pet that needs nothing but wet’ has transcended the doopid and entered the health arena.

After I saw the headline in the New York Times and delved into the post, I started to realize that this is no joke;  chia is actually being touted as a weight loss agent. In fact, a quick search on Google yielded pages and pages of results and health claims.

Chia or as it’s known in the plant world, Salvia hispanica, is a flowering plant that is native to Mexico and Guatemala. Its seeds are rich in omega-3s and dietary fiber, hence its nutritional value is not without merit. Nevertheless, claims that it can be used for weight loss or to promote health appear to be.

Before you run out to your local health food store, here’s what you need to know:

  • Chia originally demonstrated promise in animal (rat) studies in terms of its effects on blood fats and blood sugars, leading to interest in its potential usefulness in humans and health.
  • Thereafter, studies evaluating chia seed in humans did not show any specific benefit in terms of weight loss and questionable benefit on heart disease and diabetes. Other claims, such as use in allergies, to enhance athletic performance, prevent cancer, or boost the immune system are currently considered to be false.
  • Chia has been safely consumed for decades and continues to be ingested regularly. But it is not without risk and both its high fiber content and omega-3 content can lead to digestive problems if chia seeds are ingested in huge amounts.

Like any quick fix, chia isn’t going to solve your weight issues. Battling weight gain in the face of aging and swinging hormones is tough!  However, it’s important to be sensible; there’s only two rules of thumb: move your body, frequently and watch your intake of calories, fats, sugar and alcohol.

The Chia? Water it, watch it grow and move on. Ain’t no weight loss panacea and chia ain’t nothing but a pet.


  1. 1-26-2011

    I had never heard of this weight loss fad. That’s for sure! Thanks for the info. I won’t be eating any chia seeds. 🙂

    • 1-26-2011

      Hi Mary! Thanks for weighing in. It sure is strange! Water your chia and then eat it. Yikes!

  2. 1-27-2011

    I don’t eat them for weight loss, but added chia seeds to my diet as another source of some fiber, calcium and omega-3, all handy to have. (people also try to “sell” it for improved athletic performance) I add chia in hot cereal, baked goods, smoothies, or even mixed with almond milk or similar to make sort of a pudding (chia to water in about a 1:4 ratio for that, fairly low-cal if you choose and filling compared to other snacks). Also, for those who can’t have eggs, a chia/water gel (search the web, I think the ratio is different) can be used to replace eggs in some baked goods.


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