Eating Seaweed to Lose Weight; is this an Urban Myth?

Eating seaweed to lose weight can help. But, like all weight loss strategies, this too requires complementary approaches like exercise, balanced diet, and drinking more water. The magic of seaweed in weight loss cones from a chemical called Fucoxanthin.

This alone does not do all of the work, so using a manufactured product that has isolated Fucoxanthin will not get the same results as eating seaweed to help you lose weight.

There’s something about the other minerals and how they all work together that makes this natural form of Fucoxanthin more effective.

Jamie Oliver has been changing the way we think about food since the mid-’90s. Interestingly enough, in 2015, reports claim that Jamie Oliver credited eating seaweed to his lose weight.

Jamie lost an incredible 3-stone (approximately 19 kg). This idea of eating seaweed to lose weight sounds a bit like the next diet fad. So the question remains, can eating seaweed everyday help you lose weight or is it an urban myth?

Celebrity Diet Fads

Turns out that there are several other celebrities are taking to eating seaweed to lose weight as well.

These A-listers include celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal, Kate Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian, Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Victoria Beckham, Madonna, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and more are also eating seaweed to lose weight.

I understand that celebrity diet fads come and go on a regular basis. This is why I was a little reserved.

We know from a nutritional perspective, by cutting out any foods that have been processed and consuming more plant-based foods and drinking more water will ultimately help you lose weight.

So, why is seaweed special?


Seaweed Superfood

Seaweed is such a versatile product and it is a Superfood like no other. It is quickly becoming very popular in the nutritional health industry.

These amazing sea vegetables are the foundation of most of the ‘SuperGreens’ products available on the market today. Ingredients in the SuperGreens formula usually include

  • wheat-grass,
  • barley grass,
  • broccoli,
  • spinach,
  • berries,
  • beetroot, and
  • aquatic plants being a combination of spirulina, chlorella, kelp, dulse, wakame etc.

This is because aquatic plants have the richest sources of minerals known to be available when compared to any other land-based plan food.

If it sounds like I’m a little bit excited about aquatic plants like seaweed, it’s because I am. They are simple foods which are delicious and nutritious in every sense of the words.

Scientific Research

A study from the University of Newcastle shows that eating seaweed prevents the body from absorbing excess fat. Seaweed contains alginate and fucoxanthin which suppresses hunger and preventing the body from absorbing fat during the digestive process.

It’s also reported that seaweed makes you feel full quicker and for longer. So you don’t need to eat as much or as frequently as you might usually. Researchers believe that this will prevent people from gaining weight and potentially becoming obese.

A study done by the British Thyroid Association showed that about 70% of young British women are deficient in iodine. Iodine deficiency can cause a number of health issues including fatigue, weight gain, mental health problems like anxiety, and depression.

Low Iodine levels may impact fertility for both men and women, women’s health and the baby’s development during pregnancy, and then later, the physical and mental development in young children.

The Thyroid glad plays the most important roll in balancing hormones. This affects the entire body from blood and bone health to mental health, the reproductive system and much more. Having a healthy thyroid can play a big part in all aspects of someone’s life.

Eating seaweed everyday increases the pH balance in the body, creating more oxygen. Seaweed helps to build healthy blood cells which circulate around your body and keeps you healthier for longer.

So, for people who are deficient in iodine, eating seaweed every day will improve the thyroid function. A healthy thyroid has been liked to an improved metabolic rate which ultimately helps with weight loss.


Eating Seaweed to Lose Weight

In 2006, Japanese chemists from Hokkaido University fed wakame to obese rats. The fucoxanthin rich seaweed was added to their regular food. Results showed a 10% reduction in body weight, their metabolism increased due to the improve triglyceride levels and a reduction of bad cholesterol (LDL).

Dr. Kazuo Miyashita believes that fucoxanthin may be a great slimming aid in humans and help to combat obesity. Fucoxanthin stimulates fat burning and suppresses hunger.

Studies have even shown that Japanese women that have a diet high in brown seaweeds, like kelp have low rates of breast cancers. The Japanese have reported consuming as much as 4 kilograms or 8.8 pounds of seaweed per person, annually.

Yvonne Bishop-Weston, a nutrition consultant at Foods For Life promotes the benefits of eating sea vegetables. She’s been advocating the benefits of eating seaweed to lose weight for over a decade.

However, she also notes that eating seaweed is not a magic bullet that will make you thin. It needs to be part of a well balanced nutritional diet and regular activity.



It is unclear that eating seaweed extracts will prevent health issues that are weight related, like diabetes. This is why the whole food is so much more powerful.

Fortunately, once somebody with weight-related health issues loses weight, it has the flow on effect that they would reduce, if not completely reverse their health issues.

It’s important to find out from your health care professional how your thyroid is functioning. This is a very common test that can be done, but it is also very important.

You see, too much iodine can have negative health side effects too. Often the symptoms are similar to Iodine deficiency. This could lead to inflammation, disease and over the long term it may even cause cancer.

So it becomes evident that thyroid function is important in all manner of health.

Not all fat is bad, so make sure that you’re allowing for the good fats like omega-3, and unsaturated fatty acids.

These are known to help with cardiovascular health and improves brain function. So, suppressing fat absorption during metabolism may not be such a good thing. Ideally, we want to reduce the excess of fat intake and avoid the bad unsaturated fats.

On a Positive Note

The Japanese have been eating seaweed for generations. They are some of the healthiest and oldest living people recorded in history. I think the Japanese are onto something.

The Okinawan people of Japan eat about 200 grams of seaweed a day. Seaweed is a foundation of their recipes and is full of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. If you look at Japanese people, generally they are trim and healthy looking people.

Yvonne Bishop-Weston says that people who have a balanced diet that includes seaweed are less likely to experience symptoms associated with mineral depletion, and deficiencies.

This Superfood has antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant properties which are all said to help prevent heart disease, cancers, ulcers.

Like land-based vegetables, it’s suggested that we eat a variety of different types of seaweed in order to get all the benefits. You can choose from different seaweeds by their colors.

Different colored seaweeds have different properties, nutrients, and amino acids. The seaweed varieties available from deep to pale green, red to purple, white, and cream.

Detoxification for Health

Green land-based plants are known to clean the air. Sea vegetables purify the waters through oxygenation and balance the pollutants. Seaweed absorbs heavy metals but studies of seaweed from Europe and Asia show that there aren’t any health risks.

The oxygenation system works inside our bodies as well. When eating seaweed it balances the pH in our bodies. Seaweed has the ability to absorb heavy metals.

It’s also very fibrous and cleans out the gastrointestinal system. This helps with the elimination of toxic waste and fat from our system.

What are the Health Benefits of Eating Seaweed?

Seaweed is gaining popularity worldwide due to all the amazing health benefits. It’s apparent that the health benefits are extensive.

  • aiding lose weight,
  • reduce bloating,
  • reduces water retention,
  • kill bacteria
  • strengthens bones,
  • strengthens hair and nails,
  • improves the skin,
  • improves cardiovascular health,
  • improves digestive health,
  • lowers bad cholesterol,
  • stabilizes blood sugar levels,
  • lowers blood pressure,
  • reduces inflammation,
  • reduces the risk of blood clots
  • maintains healthy thyroid function, and
  • helps with detoxification by eliminating heavy metals from the body.

Eating seaweed is great for stabilizing blood sugar levels. This has great benefits for people with diabetes. The Alginates have been found to reduce the glucose uptake.

In Summary

I have a new slogan ‘Get Slimmer with Seaweed’. What do you think? Is it a winner?

Seaweed is quickly gaining recognition in the culinary circles and areas in nutritional health. Could all of these things point to seaweed as being the missing link in weight loss? I guess the proof is in seaweed.

So, will you start eating seaweed to lose weight?

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About the Author

Christine has long been on the path to optimal health. With a history of weight loss coaching she is driven by a passion for nutrition, health and wellness. Having grown up in Africa before migrating to New Zealand, and then Australia, she has seen very strong contrasts in quality of life and is driven to help others understand the importance of taking a holistic approach to life.

2 thoughts on “Eating Seaweed to Lose Weight; is this an Urban Myth?”

  1. Thanks for your question Curtis!

    Collagen does a lot to help strengthen the bones. In fact, not only is the most abundant protein in your body, but your bones contain more collagen than they do calcium. This might cause you to wonder why you’re told that you need calcium for your bones, but you hear very little to nothing about collagen. Which is interesting because collagen type 1 fibrils play a key part in the construction of bones.

    Now, many publications will promote the consumption of collagen supplements, bone broth, and other things to get the collagen content you will need to maintain a healthy body. However, more and more research is emerging which indicates that the body is able to assimilate plant based proteins more effectively than animal based proteins.

    As we are not interested in telling our Readers what they should and shouldn’t do, but are more focused on offering points for them to consider, there are various values-based reasons for choosing plant based sources of collagen. Whatever your choice is for where you get your collagen, more is better than not enough.

    If you have specific dietary needs, it would be wise to consider discussing this with your dietitian.

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