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Online information on chia seeds – A systematic content analysis

Oral presentation at the 13th Conference of the Hungarian Medical Association of America – Hungary Chapter (HMAA-HC) at 30-31 August 2019, in Balatonfüred, Hungary

Developments in Health Sciences
Authors: T. Biczók, Sz. Kassai, and V. A. Gyarmathy

Abstract

Purpose

There has been a recent increase in interest in chia seeds as a growing number of people try to observe a healthy lifestyle, particularly healthy eating habits. Given the increasing popularity of chia seeds in Hungary as well, we performed a study to examine what information on chia seeds is available on Hungarian websites.

Materials and Methods

We conducted a systematic, qualitative content analysis to examine the first 200 Hungarian results of a Google search on “chia seeds”.

Results

We identified five main topics: 1. general information, 2. effects/side-effects, 3. modes of preparation, 4. target audience, and 5. tone of the article. Sometimes information (especially on the effects) was presented in a sensationalist manner, and some claims were not scientifically well-founded, but rather based on subjective opinion.

Conclusions

In the online media, chia seed consumption was mainly recommended for those who are trying to lose weight and for diabetics, even though there is currently no proof that it can improve the condition of such people. Further studies are needed to demonstrate and confirm claims related to the beneficial effects of the chia seed. Until this has been done, readers of Google-search results – especially those who have a health condition – should be cautious about certain statements published on non-scientific websites.

Open access