The chia plant (Salvia hispanica L.) is native to Central America and Mexico, where its mucilaginous seeds have been consumed since pre-Columbian times as a staple food. Chia seeds provide great amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, and protein, which are thought to be responsible for their cardioprotective and hypoglycemic benefits. However, the usefulness of chia seeds for weight management hasn't been clearly determined, so the main purpose of this study was to analyze their effects on short-term satiety when taken as a mid-morning snack.
This double blind randomized trial was realized in Hacettepe University (Ankara, Turkey), where a scientific team analyzed the effects of consuming three different amounts of chia seeds on satiety and energy intake. The results of the study were published in the scientific journal Nutrition Research and Practice.
The 24 healthy female participants (19-25 years old) were given three mid-morning snacks, consisting of 180 grams of yogurt without chia seed, 140 grams of yogurt with seven grams of chia seed, or 100 grams yogurt with 14 grams of chia seed. The study was carried out on three separate days, with a washout period of a week between each study day. At the end of each test day, sensory perception of the volunteers was tested using a visual analog scale (VAS), a leisure lunch was served, and the energy intake of each participant was measured.
The visual tests indicated a general reduction of appetite and cravings for sugary treats, as well as high scores for satiety, particularly in the days when seven and 14 grams of chia seed were consumed. The energy intake of all participants during the leisure lunch was significantly lower when they consumed yogurt enriched with 7 or 14 grams of chia.
EVEN THE LOWEST AMOUNT OF CHIA (SEVEN GRAMS) IN THE MID-DAY SNACK WAS ENOUGH TO INCREASE FULLNESS AND CURB FOOD CRAVINGS BETWEEN MEALS.
What Does this Mean?
Although the sample was small and further research will be necessary to corroborate these findings, the study have shown that adding chia seeds to a mid-morning snack (in this case yogurt) may effectively increase fullness and reduce unhealthy food cravings between meals, thus aiding with weight management, as well as helping treat and prevent metabolic disorders.
- Nutritional Research and Practice, Chia seed (Salvia Hispanica L.) added yogurt reduces short-term food intake and increases satiety: randomised controlled trial, 2017