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Posted on 14th December 2011 by admin in Holiday Health Challenge

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What About Snacking Between Meals?

I have addressed this topic in various ways throughout this book. Some researchers have found an association between snacking between meals and obesity. By contrast, other researchers found that increasing meal frequency was associated with lower body weight in men, but not in women. Other researchers have also suggested that larger, less frequent meals increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. As noted before, there’s really no consensus on the research.

While proponents of frequent snacking have some positives to point to, the truth is, the more times a day you sit down to eat a meal or grab a quick snack, the more times the door swings open to overeating. And the human reality is that, when given the opportunity, most of us choose to overeat. I’ve seen it occur hundreds of times to those who increase the number of times they eat every day. Most of us find it almost impossible to eat a small amount at a meal or snack, and it’s almost a given that our snacks will load on the calories.

On the more technical side of snacking, I have a few more points to make that you need to read carefully. Keep in mind that the metabolic impact of the low glycemic meals I advocate versus high glycemic meals is significantly different. I have shown that the rise in blood sugar and insulin output is less when the absorption of carbohydrate is delayed. For instance, when compared to a high glycemic breakfast, a low glycemic breakfast lowers concentrations of insulin, blood sugar, free fatty acids, and triglycerides after the meal and even after a subsequent standard lunch meal, which is precisely what you want. It is believed that if lower glycemic foods are consumed, which are digested and absorbed more slowly, there appears to be less metabolic advantage to spreading those foods out over smaller, more frequent meals. That would be a significant loss.

One study I read looked at the impact of a snack consumed after a standard lunch but before the subjects became hungry. The researchers fed subjects a snack (400 kilocalories) at various times after a 1,300-kilocalorie lunch when they were not hungry. The snack did not reduce the amount of food consumed at the dinner meal and did not increase the time before the subjects requested their dinner meal. This strongly suggests that snacking when not hungry promotes increased calorie intake and weight gain over time. When rich, highly palatable foods are readily available, as is so often true of snacks, food consumption may be triggered by mealtime or pleasure and not necessarily because of hunger or the need for extra calories.

In another study, eight normal weight young men were examined concerning the impact of consuming either no snack, a high protein or a high carbohydrate snack either when subjects were hungry or when they were not hungry. The subjects were given the snacks between a standard lunch and dinner and were unaware of the time. The high protein snack delayed when the evening meal was requested and eaten by 38 minutes, but it did not reduce the energy intake compared to when no snack was offered. In fact, energy intake from the evening meal was even slightly higher when they consumed the high protein snack compared to no snack at all. The average energy intake was higher on the day they consumed the high carbohydrate snack than when they had no snack at all or when they consumed the high protein snack, which makes sense. The authors concluded that “a snack consumed in a satiety state has poor satiating efficiency irrespective of its composition, which is evidence that snacking plays a role in obesity.” In other words, snacking when you are hungry does not reduce the amounts of food eaten at subsequent meals.

I conclude that eating six smaller meals a day or snacking is disruptive to normal metabolic, digestive, and endocrine function and will almost always push up your caloric intake.

KC Craichy
The Super Health Diet

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