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Chia Seeds for Weight Loss: Does It Really Work 2023?

Cassi Donegan

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Dr G. Michael DiLeo, MD

chia seeds for weight loss

There are many ways to lose weight and people also use chia seeds for weight loss. This flowering plant responsible for the chia seed, Salvia hispanica, is from the mint family, and its uses for overall health date back to ancient times. 

The chia plant was a staple food pressed for its oil, ground up to be used in flour, and traditionally consumed before going into battle or on long journeys. It’s no surprise that chia translates to mean “strength.” These black and white seeds are a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.

Medical associations boast of the chia seed’s nutritional value, which has been deemed a superfood and miracle seed by many. Let’s investigate this superseed’s health benefits, side effects, and if it’s possible to lose weight eating chia seeds. 

Are Chia Seeds Good for Weight Loss?

Chia seeds are, in fact, good for weight loss. Unlike popular belief, no single food will ignite a new body weight, but chia seeds are great for promoting it as you make efforts. 

Eating this superfood will not be as beneficial if the rest of your diet is high-calorie junk food, but combined with other healthy foods and a conscious lifestyle, you can see results. 

There are many nutrients that promote a healthy weight, and when you add these seeds to your diet, you will likely notice a change in your digestive health, which is a significant factor in losing weight. 

Chia seeds are high in dietary fiber. When you eat high-fiber foods, this can help to slow down and improve the process of digesting food, helping your body to absorb essential nutrients from your food. Fiber contributes to a healthy gut microbiome, helps keep you feeling full, and thus prevents overeating. 

For example, Harvard University[1] wrote about a study that shows eating 30 grams a day of fiber can help you lose weight, and since one ounce of chia seeds contains 10 grams of fiber, it makes a great addition to any meal or snack. 

Chia seeds also increase your protein intake, fueling your body and decreasing food cravings since protein is digested slowly like fiber. Chia is one of the highest plant-based sources of protein available, making it an excellent option for vegetarian diets.

This food contains good fats that may help decrease your waist circumference. The fatty acids it contains can help reduce belly fat by helping reduce symptoms[2] of metabolic syndrome.

Other Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

There are many health benefits of chia seeds for weight loss, but adding chia seeds to your diet can also do more than promote weight loss. 

Chia seed’s nutrition facts[3] show each ounce, which measures two tablespoons, contains only 138 calories and 0.9 grams of saturated fat. They have almost 5 grams of protein, no sugar, and zero cholesterol. 

These seeds are a good source of nutrients like vitamin A, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, making these great for skin, bone, and dental health. The vitamins and minerals it contains can assist the body in many essential functions.

Adding these seeds to a healthy diet can improve your gut health with its high amount of antioxidants and fiber. In addition, they promote beneficial gut bacteria, which can support your immune system. 

These seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have the potential[4] to help you lose weight. You can also find these healthy fats in foods like nut butter, coconut oil, and olive oil.

Omega-3s can serve as a benefit for women’s health with the ability to help protect against breast and cervical cancer[5]. They are great for men, too, and can reduce the risk of heart-related[6] disorders since omega-3s and fiber increase good cholesterol and decrease the bad.

A systematic review of chia seeds shows this popular dietary supplement[7] can lower blood pressure for heart health and help with blood sugar control which can help prevent diabetes. 

Interestingly, the essential oils in chia seeds contain compounds[8] believed to repel insects. With chia seeds having a large concentration of essential oils, these are used to prepare omega-3 nutraceutical supplements. 

These seeds have a high concentration of phytosterols, which is antimicrobial[9], and they have a protective effect on the heart[10] and against cancer[11]

How to Use Chia Seeds for Weight Loss?

There are more ways to eat chia seeds than you have fingers and toes. This versatile, low-calorie food makes moving forward in your weight loss goals fun. 

You may notice some bags of chia seeds mixed in color. Whether you choose white or black, the seeds taste the same and share the same nutritional benefits. 

It’s easy to add chia seeds daily into your diet, and there are many simple recipes. One way is to start your day off with chia seeds detox water for weight loss. 

Chia Seed Water

Chia Seed Water


  • 1 1/2 cups of water, warm or cold
  • One tablespoon of chia seeds
  • Fresh lemon or lime juice
  • An optional teaspoon of honey

Blend these, let them sit for 5-10 minutes, and enjoy. This combination of chia seeds and lemon for weight loss can also help your body detox and boost energy. 

Soaking chia seeds in water or other liquid enhances their nutritional value and breaks down any barriers, so it has optimal absorbency potential. 

You can make chia seed pudding recipes in many different flavors to have protein-packed desserts on hand. It can even be made in big batches and frozen for convenience. 

Chia Seeds Vanilla Pudding

Chia Seeds Vanilla Pudding


  • 3/4 cup unsweetened milk 
  • Three tablespoons of chia seeds
  • One tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
  • One teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • Other ingredients like nuts, berries, coconut flakes, and fruit are optional

Chia Egg (Vegan Egg Substitute)

Chia Cake

Another way to eat chia seeds is to replace the eggs you use in baking and cooking with a chia egg. Using this vegan egg substitute spares you the cholesterol a regular egg brings while still providing you with protein. 


  • One tablespoon of whole or ground chia seeds 
  • Three tablespoons of water

Simply mix this together and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then, it will become a gooey, egg-like consistency that holds pancakes and other foods together. 

Use this recipe for each egg you want to replace. If your chia seeds don’t start absorbing the water after a few minutes, you likely have old or expired chia seeds. 

Overnight Oats with Flax and Chia Seeds

Overnight Oats with Flax and Chia Seeds

You can use chia and flax seeds for weight loss together by mixing them in overnight oatmeal or adding them to your salad dressing and vegetable dips without adding many calories. 

Oats and chia seeds for weight loss are a great combination of two foods that are high in fiber and are known to lower cholesterol and help maintain a healthy weight. 

Potential Side Effects

It’s hard to believe that chia may have side effects after hearing about the potential health benefits. But alas, the Salvia hispanica seed’s potency may be too much for some people

These seeds can assist you in losing weight, but eating too many of them may reverse the health goals you’re trying to accomplish. So, try not to overdo it on the chia pudding and chia seed water in your diet.

If you are on any “blood thinners” or prescription medications that affect your clotting, there is the potential for an unpleasant interaction. Since chia seeds are rich in omega-3s, consuming these may be additive as a “blood thinner”[12] in addition to what you already take.

Containing these fatty acids also means that anyone taking medications to control their blood pressure may experience an additive effect with the chia seed’s ability to lower blood pressure. 

Since these seeds are high in fiber, eating more than enough or not drinking enough water may irritate your gut, causing uncomfortable or painful gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation. 

If you have inflammatory bowel disease or other digestive issues, you will want to monitor and possibly limit any foods you eat having high-fiber seeds. 

The fiber in the seeds can also lower blood sugar levels, so if you have diabetes or are on medications to decrease your blood sugar, you’ll need to monitor this and not over-consume. 

Always soak the chia seeds if you’re not mixing them in food to avoid them getting stuck in your esophagus since they can swell between 10-27 times their size and may cause a blockage. 

Allergic reactions to chia seeds are uncommon, but if you experience any itching of the mouth, vomiting, or diarrhea after consuming them, you may be intolerant to them.

The Bottom Line

If you add chia seeds to your diet, they can increase satiety, aid weight loss, and help with many other health conditions. You can order this heart-healthy superfood in bulk online or find it in most grocery stores. 

If you don’t enjoy the taste of chia seed water, it’s good to know that you can use these in just about any dish of the day. Make sure to drink enough liquid to help this high-fiber food smoothly go through your digestive system.

+ 12 sources

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  1. Ferrari, N. (2015). Making one change — getting more fiber — can help with weight loss – Harvard Health. [online] Harvard Health. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/making-one-change-getting-fiber-can-help-weight-loss-201502177721.
  2. Albracht-Schulte, K., Kalupahana, N.S., Ramalingam, L., Wang, S., Rahman, S.M., Robert-McComb, J. and Moustaid-Moussa, N. (2018). Omega-3 fatty acids in obesity and metabolic syndrome: a mechanistic update. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, [online] 58, pp.1–16. doi:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2018.02.012.
  3. Usda.gov. (2022). FoodData Central. [online] Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170554/nutrients.
  4. Buckley, J.D. and Howe, P.R.C. (2010). Long-Chain Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids May Be Beneficial for Reducing Obesity—A Review. Nutrients, [online] 2(12), pp.1212–1230. doi:10.3390/nu2121212.
  5. Sun, H., Hu, Y., Gu, Z., Owens, R.T., Chen, Y.Q. and Edwards, I.J. (2011). Omega-3 fatty acids induce apoptosis in human breast cancer cells and mouse mammary tissue through syndecan-1 inhibition of the MEK-Erk pathway. Carcinogenesis, [online] 32(10), pp.1518–1524. doi:10.1093/carcin/bgr132.
  6. Jain (2015). Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease. European review for medical and pharmacological sciences, [online] 19(3). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25720716/.
  7. Teoh, S.L., Lai, N.M., Vanichkulpitak, P., Vuksan, V., Ho, H. and Chaiyakunapruk, N. (2018). Clinical evidence on dietary supplementation with chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.): a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition Reviews, [online] 76(4), pp.219–242. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nux071.
  8. Ullah, R., Nadeem, M., Khalique, A., Imran, M., Mehmood, S., Javid, A. and Hussain, J. (2015). Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, [online] 53(4), pp.1750–1758. doi:10.1007/s13197-015-1967-0.
  9. Burčová, Z., Kreps, F., Greifová, M., Jablonský, M., Ház, A., Schmidt, Š. and Šurina, I. (2018). Antibacterial and antifungal activity of phytosterols and methyl dehydroabietate of Norway spruce bark extracts. Journal of Biotechnology, [online] 282, pp.18–24. doi:10.1016/j.jbiotec.2018.06.340.
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Cassi Donegan

Medically reviewed by:

Michael DiLeo

Cassi Donegan, Licensed Practical Nurse, is a freelance health writer and editor. She has over 17 years of nursing experience in various specialties including Neurology, Orthopedics, Spine, and Pediatrics. Patient care has convinced her to be passionate about educating others on nutrition, natural childbirth, home birthing, and natural remedies for the holistic and alternative healthcare field.

Medically reviewed by:

Michael DiLeo

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