It’s mid-morning and you’re feeling peckish. You’d like a little something to tide you over until lunchtime, but you want to resist breaking open the biscuits for a short-lasting sugar surge. What to do?
The answer starts in your fridge. Take out the yogurt and throw in a spoonful of chia seeds. Not only will this healthy snack help manage your mid-morning munchies, but by taking the edge off your hunger, it may also mean you eat fewer calories at your next meal.
Even better, this satisfying snack is likely to reduce your craving for something sugary, a study from Turkey has found.
Dietary strategies to overcome obesity
As the pressure is on to find solutions to the alarming rise in obesity and its associated diseases, scientists are seeking ways to help people cap their energy intake, for example, by choosing foods that make them feel full.
It seems that certain foods with high fibre content can increase this feeling of satiety and reduce hunger between meals, thereby helping to reduce calorie intakes. One food that holds particular promise is chia.
Chia seeds (the scientific name for which is Salvia hispanica L.) were historically an important part of the diet for people in Mexico and central America. Chia seeds are a treasure-trove of nutritional goodies – proteins, minerals and vitamins – and chia oil is the most abundant plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Perhaps even more important is the high fibre content of chia, making up over 30% of the total weight.
So it’s not surprising that studies have found chia to have beneficial effects in several health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension.
Could yogurt with chia be the perfect combination for a healthy snack?
Its nutritional portfolio makes chia an obvious candidate to complement yogurt in a healthy, satiating snack. To put this to the test, the authors of this study assessed the short-term effects on appetite of a snack comprising chia seeds added to plain yogurt.
Their study involved 24 healthy women aged 19-25 years who were randomly allocated on the day of the test to eat a mid-morning snack of yogurt alone, yogurt with 7g of chia seeds, or yogurt with 14g of chia seeds – all closely matched for energy content. They then swapped so that by the end of the study everyone had tried each of the three possible snacks, with a week’s gap between each of the three test days.
Two hours after each snack, lunch was served. Throughout the test day, the participants were asked to rate various satiety and appetite measures, using a visual scale.
Chia with yogurt increased satiety
Results revealed that snacking on chia seed with plain yogurt increased the feeling of satiety and reduced the feeling of hunger. On the days the participants ate chia seeds, they also reported significantly lower scores in the amount of food they felt they could eat, and a lower desire for sugary foods.
The results showed that when the participants ate yogurt with chia seeds as a mid-morning snack, their energy intake when it came to lunchtime fell by about one-quarter compared with a snack of yogurt alone.
‘These results suggest that chia seed consumption can be a useful dietary strategy in the prevention of overweight and obesity status in healthy individuals.’ – Ayaz A et al, 2018.
The amount of chia seeds eaten didn’t seem to make much difference – both the 7g and the 14g amounts with yogurt had similar effects on satiety and on lunchtime energy intakes. This suggests you can achieve your energy intake reduction by adding just 7g of chia seeds to your yogurt – although further research is needed to confirm this, say the authors.
The authors also point out that, while this study assessed the short-term effects of yogurt with chia seed snacks, the effects of long term consumption of such snacks on overweight or obesity-related measurements remains to be seen.
‘Based on this result, it can be suggested that the threshold for energy intake reduction by chia seed is 7g, although further studies are needed to clarify this outcome.’ – Ayaz A et al, 2018.
Find out more: read the original article.
Source: Ayaz A, Akyol A, Inan-Eroglu E et al. Chia seed (Salvia Hispanica L.) added yogurt reduces short-term food intake and increases satiety: randomised controlled trial. Nutr Res Pract. 2017 Oct;11(5):412-418.