New Chia Seed Study Is Bizarre

Have you heard about the claim that eating chia seeds can lower your blood sugar by 39 percent? The news has been everywhere. We’ve been seeing the headline again and again. We wanted to learn more about the incredible result. If that’s true, it should be shouted from the rooftops. It should be all we’re talking about. But the thing is, when we went searching for the proof, we couldn't even find the study.

We first heard about it from a news brief. And, when we traced it back, it seemed that all the articles about it were based on one report. That’s not always a problem. Sometimes researchers will only publish their study in one place, and everyone will write articles based on that. But, the odd thing is, while the article talked a lot about the study, it didn’t cite any sources. It also didn’t say where the research was done, use the name of any researcher or say who funded it. All of that set off a million alarm bells for us.

This new study used 15 healthy men and gave them either chia seeds or flax seeds. Then the researchers used blood samples and satiety ratings while the men were fasting and two hours after meals. The articles said that the chia seeds reduced blood sugar by 39 percent. It also noted that the flax seeds lowered blood sugar but not as much — it didn’t say how much. The article quoted Harvard Health, implying that they were behind the study. However, searching Harvard Health’s site, it became apparent that that wasn’t the case. That’s just a quote about chia seeds in general.

Without quoting any researchers tied to the work, giving a name to the institution where the work was done, showing a publication or revealing the funding, we find this claim dubious.

Chia has a lot of health benefits. We’ve written about chia seeds in the past! Chia seeds are packed with healthy omega-3s, magnesium and antioxidants. They are also fiber dense. That can help blood sugar remain stable and avoid spikes. An ounce of chia seeds has 11 grams of fiber, four grams of protein, one gram of digestible carbs and 137 calories. They also hold more than 10 times their weight in water, meaning they leave you feeling full and will help you eat less!

We certainly aren’t dismissing the health benefits of chia seeds. We’ve long said that they are something to enjoy as a healthy part of your diet. However, we think that this headline that we have been seeing all over the place might be bologna. If we’re wrong, we’d love to hear about it! Email us at if you know more about it. As it stands, enjoy chia seeds as part of a healthy diet but don’t bank on them being a miracle food.  

Banner image: Adél Grőber via Pexels

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