Tuesday tip: To snack or not to snack? 🍪
To snack or not to snack .. that’s the question! Conventional diet wisdom promotes regular snacks as an aid to weight loss, however the evidence is mixed.
Pro snacking – when there’s a large gap between meals, your blood sugar drops making you tired, and likely to over eat later. So regular small snacks in between meals will stabilise blood sugar and prevent this. Research shows that this can help people lose fat, particularly those with type-2 diabetes. In this context high protein and fibre and low carb snacks are best. Snacking can also help people who struggle with portion control as it prevents you getting overly hungry and bingeing.
Anti-snacking – whilst snacking can help some people, studies show inconsistent results and it can derail your fat loss. The more you eat the more your insulin levels fluctuate; this rollercoaster can cause cravings and fat storage. To avoid this increase fibre and protein in meals to smooth out the insulin curve and keep you full for longer. Although internet experts often recommend 5-6 meals a day to “keep your metabolism running” research doesn’t support this. Instead of controlling appetite several studies show that snacking can have the reverse effect by causing people to eat more, rather than less. Plus it’s good to feel hungry; you shouldn’t graze all day. The key is a little hunger, but not too much.
Everyone is unique and the desire and need to snack are influenced by age, emotions, activity, main meals etc so you have to work out what’s best for you. Experiment; if you always snack twice a day, try reducing it, and vice versa and see how you feel with different eating patterns, often we eat the way we do out of habit.
So ignore the hype; to snack or not to snack is up to you; your goals, work schedule, food preferences etc and it’s not a requirement for weight loss. But it can be a helpful strategy when used appropriately. One good approach is strategic snacking at around 3/4pm to help stave off evening hunger, and there is some scientific evidence to suggest a plan of three balanced meals and one snack works well for weight loss.
Happy snacking! 🤗xx