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Can Chia Pet Seeds Lead To Weight Loss?
Remember that commercial from 1990?
The green “fur” sprouting clay figurines were a huge craze back then.
Well, now they’re back. With a vengence!
They’re being sold as a weight loss aid online and in health food stores.
The claim is that they will help you control hunger while adding super-nutrients to your diet.
What Are Chia Seeds?
They are edible seeds that come from a plant in the desert called Salvia hispanica. The seed dates back all the way to Aztec and Mayan cultures.
The chia seed is full of nutrients, however, so they are good for you.
Here’s an excerpt about their nutritional content from LiveStrong:
Said to be 44 percent carbohydrates, almost half of which is fiber; 16 percent protein; and 41 percent fat, mostly alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid, chia seeds are undeniably nutritious. Add the claim to having five times the calcium of milk, two times as much potassium as bananas, triple the antioxidant strength of blueberries and more iron than spinach, and the nutritional value climbs even higher. The fiber content makes it an attractive dietary item for those attempting to lose weight.
So, Is It true? Do They Actually Work?
Sadly, no. They don’t.
In several studies they were shown to have no beneficial weight loss effect whatsoever.
From the New York Times:
But there is little evidence that it lives up to that claim. In one study in 2009, a team of researchers randomly split 76 overweight and obese men and women into two groups. One group was given 25 grams of chia seeds twice a day, and the other was given a placebo. After 12 weeks, the scientists found no significant difference between the groups in appetite or weight loss.
Another team that reviewed the scientific evidence on chia came to a similar conclusion: There was no indication of “any effects” on weight loss. Nor did the researchers find much evidence supporting other health claims linked to the plant, like cardiovascular benefits. They noted that while chia is generally safe for consumption and a healthy addition to most diets, “further rigorous examination” of its effects as a supplement is needed.
The bottom line is that you’re probably better off just using the seeds to grow on your Chia Pet.
Oh, and they still make them today. In fact they make a “Presidential” version.
You can see the commercial here:
And the website for the product here.