A Doctor Raises The Alarm About The Widespread Diet Trend: Chia Seeds

the dieting trend: Chia seeds

Experts have issued a warning regarding a common error individuals make while consuming the dieting trend: chia seeds.

The antioxidant-rich superfood has been shown to help digestion and relieve constipation; but, if ingested without drink, it can build “a concrete-like mass in your digestive tract,” causing them to become stuck.

Numerous videos advising eating and drinking chia seeds have lately gone popular, with many claiming it might help with weight loss.

“Chia seeds can absorb up to 27 times their own weight in water, so please don’t eat it dry, or you’ll be seeing a GI doctor soon,” Dr. Wendi Lebrett, a gastroenterologist at UCLA Health in California, said in a TikTok video.

In the video, Dr. Lebrett showed a picture of a ball of seeds lodged in a person’s oesophagus, which is the channel that links the mouth and stomach.

To avoid such an incidence, she suggested drinking plenty of water when eating these seeds and always soaking them first, “otherwise it can form a thick, gloopy concrete-like mass”.

Dr. Lebrett also cited a 2014 paper published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology that described the case of a 39-year-old man who had chia seeds lodged in his esophagus.

The patient, who also had asthma, went to a North Carolina hospital and complained of having difficulty swallowing.

About 12 hours before seeking medical assistance, he informed medics he’d ingested a spoonful of dry chia seeds, and testing confirmed that it had clogged his esophagus due to it forming into a ball of gel.

The man finally needed an endoscopy to get into his stomach and clear the obstruction.

An untreated oesophageal obstruction can cause difficulty swallowing, inability to eat, respiratory difficulties, and oesophageal ripping.

“Patients should never take dried chia seeds. They can absorb several times their weight in water, grow, and become trapped in a patient’s esophagus, particularly if there is a history of swallowing difficulty, according to the report’s authors.

“However, when utilized correctly, chia seeds are harmless. They should only be blended with enough liquid to expand before ingestion.”

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