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Can Chia Seed Water Actually Help You Lose Weight?

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Is chia seed water a magical weight reduction solution? Drinking this super seed steeped in water, according to proponents of a viral TikTok health movement, may be the key to avoiding overeating and, ultimately, weight reduction success.

TikTok user @happyandhealthyolivia shared the hack in her famous series “TikTok Health Trends That Actually Work.” Since 2021, the brief video, which includes a demonstration of how to manufacture the alleged weight loss beverage, has been viewed over 17.7 million times. “Just combine 1 tablespoon (tbsp) of chia seeds with a glass of water (optional: add lime) and drink 30 minutes before meals,” she adds, adding that the combination boosts sensations of fullness.

Another user, @kanipark, asserts that chia seed water has several health benefits. “Drinking chia seed water in the morning can give a boost to your digestion and improve bowel movement,” she says, adding that it’s “great for your protein intake, heart health, bone health, blood sugar control, digestion, weight loss, and inflammation.” These claims are not supported by scientific research, but chia seeds do include fiber, protein, healthy fats, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and antioxidants, according to USDA data.

As for the taste, according to @kanipark, “It doesn’t really taste like anything, but it doesn’t taste good, either. But if I drink this whole thing I know that I will be full because it is super thick.”

What Does Science Say About Chia Seeds for Weight Loss?

When you eat chia seeds, you’re getting more than a potential weight loss perk.

“Chia seeds are tiny, but they pack in more nutrition than you think,” Collingwood said. Often termed a “superfood,” they are packed with omega-3 fatty acids (from alpha-lipoic acids or ALAs, the plant-based form of the fatty acids), antioxidants, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc, she observes.

According to a 2023 review published in the Journal of Functional Foods, chia seeds contain antioxidants that may protect the liver and heart, as well as extend life and prevent cancer. Researchers also noted that because chia is high in fiber, it can ease digestion and help manage health issues like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression.

How Do You Make Chia Seed Water?

If you still want to make chia seed water, Collingwood recommends soaking the seeds in water for 30 minutes or until they reach a “tapioca-like gel consistency.” There is no specific ratio of water to chia seeds, although TikTok vloggers use 1 tbsp of seeds per glass (8 to 10 oz) of water.

While mixing chia with water will not increase the seeds’ potential weight reduction benefits, it will make them more palatable and safer to consume. (As previously reported by Time, the super seeds can cause choking if consumed in large quantities and raw.)

If you don’t want to drink chia seeds, Collingwood recommends eating them dry on top of salads or incorporating them into baked items such as breads and waffles. You can also mix them into smoothies or make chia seed pudding for breakfast or a snack. Collingwood recommends mixing chia seeds into your preferred sort of milk and letting it sit overnight. Other ingredients, such as fresh fruit, nuts, and sweetener, can be added as desired. In one chia pudding recipe, the blogger Love and Lemons offers 1½ cup milk to ¼ cup chia, with other tasty mix-ins, such as cinnamon and fresh lemon or orange juice.

Are There Any Health Risks to Drinking Chia Seeds?

Because chia seeds are nutrient dense with a decent amount of calories and fat per serving, eat them in moderation. A typical serving size of chia seeds is 2 tbsp, which adds up to about 138 calories, according to the USDA.

Additionally, because chia seeds are so high in fiber, Collingwood urges consuming enough water or other liquid to wash them down. This will help promote digestion and prevent constipation, gas, and other digestive issues associated with consuming too much fiber without water. If your diet is currently low in fiber, be sure to increase your intake of fiber gradually, as well, advises Mayo Clinic.

The Bottom Line: Should You Try Chia Seed Water?

So, are TikTok users onto something when it comes to chia seed water for weight loss? According to Collingwood, when accompanied with careful, balanced eating, chia seeds may help you lose weight. “Chia is satiating, and can assist in preventing ravenous hunger and eating more later in the day, as long as someone is mindful about portions and pays attention to their body telling them if they are hungry or full,” she goes on to say.

Chia seeds are not a quick fix for weight loss. They do not burn more calories or boost metabolism in any manner. In addition, consuming too many of them may cause you to gain weight.

But a tablespoon added to your water may help fill you up and prevent you from eating more — in addition to offering other nutritional benefits.

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