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They're supposed to help control hunger while they enhance your diet with super- nutrients. But what's the real story on these nutritious seeds and their ability to help you lose weight?
Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica , grown in Mexico dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. That makes sense, as chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants , and calcium. Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds unlike flaxseeds. One ounce about 2 tablespoons contains calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals.
The mild, nutty flavor of chia seeds makes them easy to add to foods and beverages. They are most often sprinkled on cereal, sauces, vegetables, rice dishes, or yogurt or mixed into drinks and baked goods. They can also be mixed with water and made into a gel. In theory, chia seeds are supposed to expand in your belly, helping you to feel full, eat less, and ultimately shed pounds. But one study indicates otherwise.
More study is needed before chia can be recommended either for weight loss and heart health , says Ulbricht, chief editor of Natural Standard Research Collaboration. While there's little evidence for the weight loss benefits of chia, it can be a nutritious addition to your diet. Nieman notes that people in his study tolerated it without any complaints for 12 weeks. Pick a square or two of dark over the milky version. When Penn State researchers added pureed cauliflower and zucchini to mac and cheese, people seemed to like the dish just as much.
But they ate to fewer calories. Those healthy vegetables added low-cal bulk to the tasty dish. A protein-rich breakfast may help you resist snack attacks throughout the day. The women ate a calorie breakfast that included eggs and a beef sausage patty.
The effect of the high-protein breakfast seemed to last into the evening, when the women munched less on fatty, sugary goods than the women who had cereal for breakfast.
For a great snack on the run, take a small handful of almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or pecans. Research shows that when people munch on nuts, they automatically eat less at later meals. Skip the apple juice and the applesauce and opt instead for a crunchy apple. One reason is that raw fruit has more fiber. A Harvard study followed more than , people for a decade or longer. Yogurt, of all the foods that were tracked, was most closely linked to weight loss. Yes, grapefruit really can help you shed pounds, especially if you are at risk for diabetes.
Drinking grapefruit juice had the same results. But grapefruit juice doesn't have any proven "fat-burning" properties -- it may just have helped people feel full.
You cannot have grapefruit or grapefruit juice if you are on certain medications, so check the label on all your prescriptions , or ask your pharmacist or doctor. Load your shopping cart with lots of lean protein, fresh veggies, fruit, and whole grains, says food scientist Joy Dubost, PhD, RD.
The most important thing, when it comes to lasting weight loss, is the big picture of what you eat, not specific foods. Delicious foods that help you diet? It sounds too good to be true. So take this list when you go to the supermarket: