Diabetes Diet

Chia Seeds

You might think that everyone who has diabetes would know about a seed that is superior to other plant and marine sources of essential omega-3 oils. It is also high in antioxidants and fiber. Besides that, it is high in protein and lipids, is low in sodium, and has fewer net carbs than most other grains.

But we have more misinformation about it than we have knowledge.

The seed is called chia (Salvia hispanica) and is a member of the mint family. It originated in Mexico’s central valley.

Before the Spanish conquest, chia was a big part of the Aztec and Mayan diets and was the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. But the conquerors came close to wiping out chia. Maybe that was because of the Aztec custom of cutting images of gods made from chia dough into pieces and eating them after their religious ceremonies. That was too close for comfort to the practices of the conquering religion.

Over the past few decades, commercial production has resumed in Latin America. Much of the credit for this needs to go to Wayne Coates, Ph.D., who retired just two months ago as a research professor in the Office of Arid Lands Studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Together with Richardo Ayerza Jr., Dr. Coates wrote the definitive book on the subject, Chia: Rediscovering a Forgotten Crop of the Aztecs (The University of Arizona Press, 2005).

Dr. Wayne Coates (image used by permission)
Dr. Wayne Coates (image used by permission)
Their work led to the commercial cultivation of chia in Peru.

Chia is 16 percent protein, 31 percent fat, and 44 percent carbohydrate of which 38 percent is fiber. Most of its fat is the essential omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20 (2007).

Exactly how much of chia’s fiber is insoluble and soluble is hard to pin down. But about three-fourths is insoluble and one-fourth soluble. Still, chia’s soluble fiber has a much higher viscosity than other dietary fibers such as beta-glucan and guar. This means that it has significantly increased intestinal transit time, delayed gastric emptying, and a slower rate of glucose absorption.

For all its power chia is a remarkably mild tasting seed. I add it to everything from salad to yogurt to eggs and ground bison. I enjoy its nutlike flavor and sometimes eat a handful of whole seeds straight from the container. Chia is a tasty, interesting, and healthful addition to my diet.

But for such a little-known food we can find a remarkable amount of stuff on the Internet that just isn’t true. Dr. Coates helped guide me through this morass.

I don’t have any interest in the recipes for chia that I found in the book by James F. Sheer, The Magic of Chia (Berkeley, California, Frog Ltd., 2001). But essentially all of those recipes call for soaking the chia in a glass of water to form a gel. Is that really necessary?

It’s not, Dr. Coates replied. “They were believers in soaking, but all that does is bring out the soluble fiber. It doesn’t do anything more magical than that. There is no documented reason to make a gel to use it. I personally just put it on my salad every night and eat it that way.”

I also wondered if we might need to grind chia seeds, since flax seeds require grinding. Does grinding chia make it more bioavailable?

“Not really,” Dr. Coates replied. With flax you have to grind it, because it has a hard seed coat. Chia doesn’t, so you don’t need to grind it.

I persisted. It seems to me that the chia is more palatable when I grind it. So is there any reason not to?

“No, there is definitely no reason not to, except for the hassle of doing it,” he answered. “Grinding will not hurt anything, and if in fact you do grind it, the nice thing is that it has natural anti-oxidants so it won’t go rancid like flax.”

What about cooking? I broiled ground chia on my bison burger last night. Does cooking destroy anything of the chia?

Again, that is not really a problem, Dr. Coates replied. “Whether ground or whole there is no detrimental effects. Of course, the higher the heat there will be some destruction, but not a lot. I think it is slightly better to add it at the table.

“Now, if you cook with chia oil, it isn’t stable, because the antioxidants are in the seed and the seed coat,” he says. So don’t use chia oil for cooking, he adds, just as you wouldn’t use flax oil for cooking, because both of them will oxidize.

Then, I asked Dr. Coates what his take on Salba was. A company in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, has begun to promote it heavily.

I told him that I just ran across an article by Vladmir Vuksan and his associates about Salba. The article is “Supplementation of Conventional Therapy With the Novel Grain Salba (Salvia hispanica L.) Improves Major and Emerging Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Type 2 Diabetes: Results of a randomized controlled trial,” in Diabetes Care, November 2007, pp. 2804-2810.
“It’s a joke,” Dr. Coates replied forcefully. “Salba is just the white chia.”

Then, what about organic chia? I told him that I ran across a source of chia that purports to be certified organic.

Dr. Coates replied point blank, “There is no certified organic chia. That is another falsehood. But the chia is never sprayed with pesticides because insects never bother it. So there are never any chemicals on the outside of the seed. It is harvested with combines mechanically and it is mechanically cleaned. We don’t irradiate it; we don’t do anything to it. It is natural.”

Then, I said that I heard that you can take too much fish oil and I wondered if you could take too much chia.

“You can OD on fish oil and algae oil,” Dr. Coates replied. But there are no know restrictions or limitations on chia. You can eat a cup a day. You cannot OD on ALA. Your body takes the ALA and converts it to fish oil.”

But doesn’t ALA convert to fish oil with less bioavailability than the fish oil itself?

“There is a big argument about how much ALA gets converted,” Dr. Coates replied. “Your body is going to convert what you need rather than converting extra. So you are going to convert differently from what I am going to convert. That’s why nothing has come out about what percentage is converted.”

This is clear enough now for me. I will continue eating at least three or four teaspoons of chia every day. And most of the time I will eat the little seeds whole. I will stick with the more common and much less expensive black seeds. I will cut back a little on my fish oil and increase the number of chia seeds I eat every day.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

Never Miss An Update

Subscribe to my free newsletter “Diabetes Update”

I send out my newsletter on first of every month. It covers new articles and columns that I have written and important developments in diabetes generally that you may have missed.

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like These Articles

350 Comments

  • Reply Eva September 12, 2015 at 4:04 am

    Hello,
    Many thanks for sharing this article.

    I have got this article when I was searching for the difference between organic and conventional seeds?
    I am concerned about the fact that organic seeds not exist. Do you if anyone can advice if this is still valid. If the seeds really grow without need of fertilize?

  • Reply Odżywka do rzęs March 31, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    You can certainly see your enthusiasm within the article you write.
    The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how
    they believe. All the time follow your heart.

    • Reply David Mendosa March 31, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      Thank you. I certainly am passionate that all of us can manage our diabetes!

      Best regards,
      David

  • Reply Barbara February 2, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    Does anyone know how long Mila lasts in the bags? Is it harmful to take if more than 3-5 years old?

    • Reply David Mendosa February 2, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Dear Barbara,

      Good question. I don’t know but maybe someone else could answer or you could contact Mila directly.

      With metta,
      David

  • Reply Dixie_Amazon November 25, 2014 at 7:52 am

    I forgot to add that I have IBS and cannot tolerate flax seed at all. Chia doesn’t aggravate my IBS. YMMV (your milage may vary)

  • Reply Dixie_Amazon November 25, 2014 at 7:39 am

    I would like suggest that when you start consuming chia to
    START SLOW,
    especially if you have intestinal issues like IBS or had gastric bypass.

    The temptation when starting a new supplement or health food is to jump in at the recommended level.

    Try starting with one or 1/2 teaspoon of chia with at least 8 ounces of water and work your way up gradually.

  • Reply Pone March 26, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    devries, potato starch is gritty but who cares. One or two tablespoons is not hard to swallow.

    Barley is a toxic grain, and in any case I cross react against my wheat intolerance.

    I stopped the chia seeds as I felt that they weren’t digesting that well.

    The potato starch leaves me feeling sedated the next day, so it is pretty powerful stuff. I am not taking it regularly yet.

  • Reply deVries March 26, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Hi Pone, thanks for the update about potato starch & not cooking it. I definitely will try this and report back too.

    Does it have to soak in liquid for very long to prevent any gritty mouth feel? I assume it should be a very soft food/mouth feel, but I haven’t used it yet.

    I’ve been grinding pearled barley to add some fiber bulk to my Chia pancakes, and I find this adds more bulk to my stool without the loose stool issue that taking too much Chia causes. I have to soak the ground barley before adding to pancake mix to prevent that gritty mouth feel though.

    Are you still using the potato starch?

  • Reply Pone February 13, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    devries, I have found something I think you will want to study. People are starting to experiment with raw potato starch, ingested at night before bed, used as a resistant starch. The body does not metabolize this starch to glucose. The starch is extremely nourishing to the microbes that live in your colon though, and it is thought to promote the metabolism of the starch to butyrate, which both heals the gut and potentially goes to the liver to create ketones.

    You can read a bit about it here:

    http://freetheanimal.com/2013/12/resistant-primer-newbies.html#comment-557615

    I want to be clear that:

    1) We are talking about potato STARCH NOT potato flour!! Potato starch is a totally different food. Potato flour your body would metabolize to glucose.

    2) Do NOT cook the potato starch, because that would cause the starch modules to burst and become absorbable by your gut. If you cook with potato starch above about 130 F, your body will start to absorb it and metabolize to glucose. That would completely undo the affects.

    What people are claiming about potato starch:

    1) It is reducing fasting glucose by 10 to 20 points in diabetics and prediabetics.

    2) It is creating very restful sleep, and some users are reporting vivid dreaming. I have a theory about this being due to the ketone production, but that’s a separate conversation.

    3) It greatly helps people with constipation. It creates a soft bulky stool that rapidly transports through the system.

    I started with one tablespoon of Bob Red Mill’s potato starch one hour after dinner, and I have worked up so far to three tablespoons. Somewhere around four tablespoons is thought to be the maximum useful dose, and I’ll probably test above that for a while.

    It does create some gas as the bacteria ferment the starch. I find that this is a morning-only phenomena because of the way I am taking it and is completely absent during the day.

    I would advise taking this with a probiotic on its own after a meal. There are reports that if you combine it with fermentable foods that the gas problem gets extreme.

    I have only taken it for less than a week now, but it has had pretty profound and noticeable positive effects on all of the points I made above. I would have to say it is a remarkable find, and it’s worth trying.

  • Reply deVries January 26, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Pone, thanks for any and all ideas you can provide. I enjoy researching about nutrition, so this type of information is always welcome.

    I have learned one thing for certain regarding my digestion of Chia. I can eat more Chia if it is put in my food dry and not soaked.

    However, if I eat 4-6 rounded teaspoons of Chia that has soaked for 24 hours in one meal, then about 24 hrs later I can have multiple very runny bowel movements within one hour. Obviously, I have a limit to the amount of soaked Chia I can eat at one meal.

    At least I know it is a good laxative if I need to clear-out my bowels.

    I think ground Chia is an excellent pancake additive to add dry to a pancake mix. If someone wants to experiment doing this, then I highly recommend only ingesting 1-2 rounded teaspoons of Chia per person per pancake meal on one day. Test several times before adding more Chia per meal/day to prevent upset bowel movements that are too runny and require access to the bathroom immediately.

  • Reply Pone January 26, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    deVries, you might want to look at using polydextrose as a fiber in your diet:
    http://www.medlabs.com/downloads/polydextrose.pdf

    One of the things that intrigues me about polydextrose is that it increases short chained fatty acid production in the large intestine.

  • Reply deVries January 21, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Well, I tried using the dry ground Chia, and that solved the problem to a large extent. I’ve made pancakes twice now with dry ground Chia that was ‘not’ soaked in water. So far, I’ve had somewhat normal bowel movements that are soft but not as “whole” or one/two piece as usual but without the need to run to the bathroom.

    This is about 2 rounded teaspoons of Chia per 2 large pancake meal.

    I can definitely say even with this amount of Chia that I feel very full after eating just two pancakes.

    Also, I checked my blood glucose levels at one and two hours, and, surprisingly, my BG level is lower than eating 4-5oz of chicken with 2/3 Cup tomato pasta sauce (no pasta or sugar) with whole Parmesan cheese. I wonder what would happen to BG if I added a heaping teaspoon of Chia to this chicken meal?

    Chia does help blunt my BG response, and these pancakes had whole milk vs water and 3 Tablespoons of real maple syrup with a liberal topping of pecan nuts too. I’m quite pleased with this result, because it seems I can tolerate still eating pancakes occasionally even with real Maple syrup too!

    I have no interest in eating larger amounts of Chia, because I feel too full on larger amounts and my bowel movements become too urgent and loose. So far, I think I can use Chia in my diet in small amounts of 1-2 rounded teaspoons per day.

    I will be quite interested in how Chia can work for homemade pasta, because it seems you can feel very full on small amounts added to grain flours AND blunt your BG levels well below what refined flours typically do.

  • Reply deVries January 17, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    After eating 2 small meals today 24hrs after the Chia pancakes I had 2 “rapid” loose & unformed bowl movements which did clear-out the Chia pancakes from yesterday. Obviously, this Chia pancake combination of food causes issues with too loose & “run to the bathroom” bowl movements for my digestion to handle normally.

    The first time I made Chia pancakes with bananas and this caused no problems, so I’ll try that again in a week or two.

  • Reply deVries January 17, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    3rd Chia pancake test update:

    About 10-12 hours after eating the 2 Chia pancakes I felt a tiny bit weird “uneasy” about my digestion thinking I might have a problem developing, but it passed without any issue.

    Today I don’t feel like eating Chia for a few days, so I’m going to pass doing more Chia pancake tests. I think eating the Chia pancakes one meal every 2-3 weeks is the most I want to eat for now. I don’t think ingesting 2+ teaspoons of Chia everyday is best for my digestion, but this is just a subjective feeling I get.

    I’m going to try using just 1 heaping teaspoon of dry ground Chia on my food directly and see how that works out.

  • Reply deVries January 16, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Pone wrote:
    But I do wonder would the surface temperature at 180 guarantee the temperature inside of the chia gel? Evaporative cooling around that gel might send temperature lower just around the seed.

    deVries replies:
    I’m using *ground* Chia in a water slurry, and I’m certain everything is heating together with little temperature fluctuation. As you know, when cooking pancakes it is center of the pancake that finishes cooking last.

    I went ahead and made two more Chia pancakes today from the exact same pancake mix I used yesterday. I used the temp probe, and the surface of the center of the pancake was heated well above 185 F. I have no doubt the temperature was at least that hot inside the pancake. In fact, I’m certain the temp is above 200 F inside the pancake by the time I’m finished cooking both sides.

    The Chia gel actually helps to cook the pancakes more evenly, imo, because it actually drys out the inside of the pancake better IF you don’t have the heat too high. Cooking slower on lower temp makes excellent Chia pancakes, imo, and these are more evenly cooked inside the pancake *with* ground Chia water slurry vs regular pancakes.

    Seriously, you don’t need to worry about damaging the Omega 3 when making pancakes. The cooking time is less than 8-10 minutes per pancake, and the inside of the pancake is heated to less than 220 F remaining moist and not dry.

    Most bread is considered finished baking at 200 F. Remember, 212 F is the boiling point of water & causes rapid evaporation, so the pancake would dry-out if heated above that temp for very long. The fact your pancake is cooked in 8-10 minutes and remains moist protects the Omega 3’s from any temperature damage.

    My stomach upset was gone today, so I figured it’s best to try the Chia pancakes again asap to attempt to repeat the loose bowel “disaster” again.

    I’m certain there was no bacterial contamination today, and I will eat the same food I did yesterday later on today.

    Before doing the pancake tests I drank the ground Chia “water slurry” along with eating some food too, so I’ve taken Chia with food before too. Some people have posted getting “uncontrolled” runny bowel movements after taking Chia several times, so it’s possible that it has to be ingested often enough (or too much) for this to begin to happen.

  • Reply Pone January 16, 2014 at 1:22 am

    Great idea to check surface temperature of pancake (with a laser probe would be perfect). But I do wonder would the surface temperature at 180 guarantee the temperature inside of the chia gel? Evaporative cooling around that gel might send temperature lower just around the seed.

    The general thought is that it makes no sense that chia by itself slows down your digestive system (as you reported), but speeds it up inside a pancake. Common sense tells you that some other ingredient in the pancake must have done this, but it could well be that the chia facilitated this because of the moisture issue.

    The other point to consider is that chia may have a low smoking point, because of the high polyunsaturated omega-3 content. No one has documented an exact smoking temperature. It’s easy to get a grill to above 350F, so I would worry about using Chia as an ingredient in pancakes unless the cooking temperature was very low.

  • Reply deVries January 16, 2014 at 12:32 am

    Pone wrote:
    Chia has the unique characteristic that it carries water around in its gel and doesn’t let go of it easily. So in a pancake the middle tends to stay uncooked.

    deVries replies:
    I’ll use my temp probe to check the surface temp on the upside uncooked portion of the pancake. 180 F on the top surface will be hot enough to kill all bacteria inside, since the temp is hotter underneath that’s closer to the hotter pan surface. And, then, flip it to the down side to heat it beyond 200 F against the pan surface.

    The water soaked Chia should be fine though, as long as the temp gets to 180 F. Also, water soaked Chia will not absorb the other ingredients like eggs, since “the gel” is already at capacity with its water content absorbed in “equilibrium”.

    Btw, I’ve eaten 2 meals without Chia since the “bad” too fast & loose bowel movement. So far, so good, but my stomach is still a bit queasy.

  • Reply Pone January 15, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Eggs cooked sunny side up will kill all of the bacteria in the egg. I have gotten sick several times from eating *thin* pancakes with various flours that left the inside of the pancake moist and uncooked. I use Lodge cast iron as well.

    Chia has the unique characteristic that it carries water around in its gel and doesn’t let go of it easily. So in a pancake the middle tends to stay uncooked.

    The only test of chia I would trust would be consuming chia directly in water. Mixing it in with other ingredients is tricky.

  • Reply deVries January 15, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    I did use one organic free range egg in the pancake mix just as before in the exact same Chia slurry. I had already eaten 9 of these eggs “sunny side up” with runny yokes without issues. Also, today’s pancake batter was thin not making a thick pancake, and I slightly overcooked both pancakes. I use a heavy Lodge 12″ cast iron skillet that holds heat very well, so it tends to overcook pancakes.

    The cause is either the Chia or, less likely, bacteria “stomach upset”. I will be very cautious the next time I do pancakes to eliminate any possibility of bacteria contamination. I will try again next week, but, for now, no more Chia till the next test. My stomach is not yet back to normal tonight.

  • Reply Pone January 15, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    devries, what I suspect happens is that the Chia is so moist that it leaves the inside of the pancake uncooked. That might mean you are eating raw eggs if your batter includes eggs.

    I have had similar things happen when I develop a new pancake batter that doesn’t want to cook all the way through, and I end up with something very moist in the middle.

  • Reply deVries January 15, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Wow, today I wanted to use-up the soaked Chia seed I had in the frig, ao I made 2 pancakes again without any banana this time. (The first pancake test had one small banana sliced in each 6-7″ inch sized pancake.)

    Well, less than 10 hours later I had a runny unformed stool that required very quick access to the bathroom toilet. This is highly unusual for me to have this kind of fast and loose bowel movement. I did not eat anything raw or unusual in the meantime, so I know this too fast & loose bowel movement was caused by today’s Chia pancakes. I did not eat any Chia since my last pancake experiment noted above, nor did I eat any other high-fiber foods.

    Perhaps the ground Chia soaked too long in water, about 5 days, but it was chilled in the frig the entire time. Plus, the pancakes were heated enough to kill bacteria. The Chia was less than 2 teaspoons eaten in total.

  • Reply deVries January 13, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Update regarding the Chia “pancake experiment” I should add that I made enough pancake mix to make 6 large pancakes about 6-7″ inches in size. Also, that included 1 egg & about 2 heaping teaspoons of ground Chia that was in about 5 ounces of water soaked for 2 days in the Frig. (I did not use the other 1 heaping teaspoon of soaked Chia I had available in the remaining 3 ounces of water.)

    Had I soaked the Chia in whole organic dairy (or coconut or almond) milk instead of water, then I would have used all the Chia -one heaping Tablespoon to make the 6 pancakes.

    Finally, the pancake mix brand was Hungry Jack Buttermilk (not Hungry Man). I recommend finding a more healthier ingredient list than this brand, but it does make very well formed lighter pancakes that don’t come-out funky. The Chia did not harm the flavor of this pancake mix, imo, and I think it’s possible to use more Chia than I did.

    Pone wrote:

    You might want to consider testing with reactive starches. Most of the caloric value is for the benefit of your intestinal flora, and my guess is that this will speed up digestion. These are going to be foods like sweet potato.

    deVries replies:

    There are so many low-carb w/fiber processed foods “out there” now that it is overwhelming to know which ones might work vs marketing hype.

    Your “whole food” plantain and sweet potato ideas are worth trying too. My goal is to find the right food & fluid mix to speed-up my transit time to have a bowel movement within 24hrs on average. More walking and/or exercise may be necessary too. Maybe situps or stomach exercises?

  • Reply deVries January 13, 2014 at 1:59 am

    My Chia Pancake Experiment:

    Well, I had some ground Chia soaking in the frig for a couple of days in water. It was 1 heaping tablespoon of ground Chia in 8 ounces of water.

    I decided to try using this Chia gel to add to a Hungry Man buttermilk pancake mix & see what happens. (Hungry Man is not very healthy ingredients but makes decent pancakes for a dry-mix.) It’s a left-over opened box of pancake mix that I will slowly finish and not buy again until I get my BG levels & weight lower.

    I was able to whip-in a lot of air into this gel thanks to the bubble-effect of the water soaked gelled Chia. The 2 pancakes I made cooked perfectly, and I’m certain I did very little damage, if any, to the Chia ALA fatty acids. (No strange or bad taste.) You can rapidly heat the first side of the pancake to “bake it off”, and then reduce the heat for the flip side.

    The soaked ground Chia air-whipped gel worked great in my pancake mix, but, unfortunately, I have to avoid eating pancakes except on rare occasions. I do think it will blunt my BG response, so I’m looking forward to testing that effect. Also, I was very satisfied and felt full after eating just 2 very large pancakes vs the 4-6 I would eat when high carb. In fact, I couldn’t eat the last 3 bites of the 2nd pancake thanks to the Chia effect.

    I bet you could wisk-in a lot of micro air-bubbles into your soaked ground Chia gel to add and fold-in to the pancake mix vs using un-soaked whole Chia seeds. This would make your pancakes super light and fluffy, so you will eat much less calories per pancake too! Whip and fold-in some whipped egg whites, and you might just float away on air. 🙂

    Btw, the taste of my Chia pancakes were excellent, so there was no damage to the Chia ALA fatty acids, imo.

  • Reply Pone January 12, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    devries, some thoughts on you to supplement your diet:

    1) Try green plantain, which has a lot of starch and fewer fructose carbs. You can make fantastic pancakes from the plantains. Look online for recipes and let me know if you need one. Obviously you have to test with glucometer to see if you tolerate those. Skip honey and sweeteners.

    2) You might want to consider testing with reactive starches. Most of the caloric value is for the benefit of your intestinal flora, and my guess is that this will speed up digestion. These are going to be foods like sweet potato.

  • Reply Pone January 12, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    devries, I have this same violent reaction to white chia seeds, three different purchases from different suppliers all the same. I never have this reaction to black chia.

    The things I would say here:

    1) There is a possibility that they reacted to some other seed strain mixed in with Chia. Most chia seeds I have purchased are not cleaned well. Dr Coates’ seeds are really clean.

    2) There is possibility they reacted only to white seeds but failed to specify.

    In any case, this is not a reaction that sneaks up on you. You either have it or you do not, and believe me it is isn’t a subtle thing. With white chia, it feels like my body violently rejects any attempt to digest it and just flushes it out. I get nothing like that with black chia.

  • Reply deVries January 12, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Pone wrote:
    devries, what symptoms have you heard of after one to two months on chia?

    Hi Pone, check-out Tara’s posts in this thread, then you can read at the link below the responses she got after posting about her problems with Chia. Most replies to her post had this “delayed sickness” response after eating Chia for 1-2 months. Strange indeed…

    http://paleohacks.com/questions/115745/allergic-reaction-to-chia-seeds#axzz2S9uQegxO

    I’m only going to eat 1-2 teaspoons of Chia for the next 2 months every day to see how I feel and react over time. I don’t want to eat more than one rounded Tablespoon per day, since my stools get too bulky unless I can have more bowel movements. I know it would be possible to change my diet, fluid intake, and activity level to eat more Chia, but I have no interest or reason to try and do that until my BG levels & weight is much lower than at present.

    Btw, don’t worry about using Chia to make pancakes, etc. You don’t heat the seeds long enough or high enough to do much damage at all. You only cook a pancake for just a few short minutes, so there is too little time to damage the fatty acids, imo.

  • Reply Pone January 12, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    devries, what symptoms have you heard of after one to two months on chia?

    Again, the way you speed up the stool is by getting more water into the gut. Fructose (without glucose) would be one way to do that, as it would draw water in by osmosis.

    You might want to research around osmosis and see if you can find other ways to get an osmotic effect in the intestine.

  • Reply Pone January 12, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    David, did you ever have any luck finding a smoking point for Chia? I’m interested in using them in pancake recipes, but the temperatures get to and above 350F. Flax – another Omega-3 rich seed – starts to oxidize around 225F, so it is probably okay for baking bread but not okay for a hot skiddle and pancakes. I suspect Chia might be in a similar situation.

    Getting some idea of safe temperatures for the seed would help a lot in using it in the appropriate recipes.

    • Reply David Mendosa January 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Dear Pone,

      I haven’t ever read what the smoke point of chia is. Maybe Dr. Coates can tell us. But since both flax and chia are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are polyunsaturated fats, and flax has a very low smoke point, my guess is that chia’s is also pretty low. That’s just a guess.

      Namaste,

      David

      • Reply David Mendosa January 12, 2014 at 7:58 pm

        Dear Pone,

        As I hoped, Dr. Coates just wrote:

        “You can bake with chia seeds, not a problem as the temp inside the goods never reaches oven temp. Additionally the antioxidants in chia make it much more stable than flax.”

        Namaste,

        David

  • Reply deVries January 12, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Bowel transit time experiment update and conclusion about my limits ingesting Chia:

    In order to “reset” my bowel movement testing for Chia I stopped taking Chia or any other high fiber foods, etc. for enough bowel movements to clear my system. Then I ate a T-bone steak, 1 large tomato, 1 Green Bell Pepper, and some fresh garlic. Normally, that meal does NOT provide enough fiber for soft stools that transit within 36hrs for me, so I took 1 dose of Miralax (a synthetic stool softener) after eating that meal. Well, less than 24hrs later I had a very watery stool without any formation or shape. Had I taken Chia or Flax instead of Miralax, then I would have not had a bowel movement within 48hrs based on past experience.

    I have learned that taking 6 rounded teaspoons of Chia slowly over 48hrs (see previous posts for details) will slow my digestive transit time to 48hrs+ or more to poop. This is the same result I get when ingesting ground golden flax too.

    I am only drinking about six 8 ounce glasses of water (including tea or coffee) per day, but I’m also not doing any activity to increase thirst. So, for me, just taking ground Chia or ground flax is not going