Came across a sea moss supplement advertisement that claims to help in weight loss. Even though you are quite desperate to shed weight, you may not be convinced about the effectiveness of sea moss in weight loss.
In this article, we take you through what is sea moss, its nutritional benefits, and whether it helps in weight loss.
What Is Sea Moss?
Also known as Irish moss or its scientific name, Chondrus Crispus, sea moss is a kind of edible red seaweed or algae. It is generally found in the coastal regions of the Atlantic, such as those in Europe and North America.
Though sea moss comes in different colors such as red, green, yellow, brown, and even black, the most common variety is Irish moss which is red.
When it comes to commercial use, Carrageenan which lies inside the cell walls of sea moss is generally used as a thickening agent in food items such as pudding and ready-to-eat cream desserts.
Nutritional Benefits Of Sea Moss
As with other seaweeds, sea moss is a rich source of several hard-to-get nutrients. Two tablespoons i.e 10 grams of sea moss contains approximately 4.9 kcals/21 KJ
However, it is to be noted that the nutritional value of sea moss may differ depending on its geographical location, the season of the harvest, and the method of storing and processing.
Does Sea Moss Work for Weight Loss?
Now, let’s check what experts say about whether sea moss helps in losing weight.
1. May contribute to weight loss
Dr. Melinda Ring, the Executive Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine says that theoretically, sea moss gel could aid in weight loss.
It is due to the reason that the goopy consistency of sea moss gel makes it slow to leave human stomachs. Thus, a person consuming it may feel fuller for longer. However, it is not guaranteed.
According to Samar Kullab, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Chicago, studies on the effects of sea moss on weight loss are not strong enough to support the claims.
2. No sudden boost of metabolism
As you know, if your metabolism is fast, you will burn more calories. Contrary to the claims made by people online, consuming sea moss does not lead to a sudden increase in your metabolism. However, the high amounts of prebiotic fiber in it can help regulate the digestive system.
3. Link between thyroid function and weight loss
The presence of iodine in sea moss helps regulate thyroid function. It may be due to this reason that people credit sea moss for weight loss.
However, Beth Czerwony, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition opines that though sea moss may aid in weight loss, due to the inconsistency in the amount of iodine in it, people may end up consuming sea moss excessively. She warns that it can lead to hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid.
4. Carrageenan content may help lose weight
Lon Ben-Asher, MS, RDN, LDN, a nutrition specialist says that the carrageenan content in sea moss may support weight loss. He went on to add that Carrageenan, a type of fiber in it slows down digestion.
Thus, a person consuming sea moss may feel full for longer and reduce the total calories that he/she may eat daily. A study conducted in 2011 showed that people who consumed a drink with seaweed fiber were found to have higher levels of satiety and a lower appetite five hours later in comparison to the placebo.
As you know by now, more studies need to be conducted to prove the effectiveness of sea moss in weight loss. However, experts do not recommend eating seaweed more than once a week, especially for those who are pregnant.
Also, if you are taking blood thinning medication such as warfarin, you need to monitor seaweed since it is high in Vitamin K. Last but not least, sea moss may contain toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, aluminum, mercury, and lead. Thus it is better to consume sea moss in moderation.
- Rajapakse N., Kim S.K. Nutritional and Digestive Health Benefits of Seaweed. 1st ed. Volume 64. Elsevier Inc.; Amsterdam, The Netherlands: 2011. [PubMed]
- Salehi B., Sharifi-Rad J., Seca A.M., Pinto D.C., Michalak I., Trincone A., Mishra N., Nigam M., Zam W. Martins Current Trends on Seaweeds: Looking at Chemical Composition, Phytopharmacology, and Cosmetic Applications. Molecules. 2019;24:4182. doi: 10.3390/molecules24224182. [PMC free article]
- Seaweed, Irish moss, raw. (2019).