Navigating the dieting world can frustrate and exhaust you. This is especially true when new studies come out that contradict last year’s big discovery. Lately, there has been a debate as to whether or not snacking is actually beneficial to your weight loss. Healthline.com agrees by pointing out that “Studies on snacking’s effects on appetite and weight have provided mixed results.” Choosing healthy snacks can also be difficult!
While some nutritionists say that small snacks in between meals can be hugely beneficial, others argue that it is detrimental to your body. So who should we listen to? My research suggests that if you chose to snack, keep it healthy or refrain from it all together. But read the latest for yourself…
First, let’s look at those opposed to snacking. Kelly LeVeque, a celebrity nutritionist, avidly opposes snacking in between meals. In her article about the negative effects of snacking, she explains that your body starts a digestive process after eating a meal. This takes a few hours to complete. Eating a snack interrupts this process and restarts the whole cycle.
“Not only does this take energy away from other repairs your body is making…” she states, “but it also leads to weight gain.”
This isn’t the only reason some nutritionists argue against snacking. In many cases, when people snack, they eat too much. The Mayo Clinic suggests that a snack should consist of 100 calories or fewer. Often when snacking occurs, many people do not adjust the number of calories in their next meal. By neglecting to do so they increase their overall caloric intake for the day without even realizing it.
There is no conclusive evidence that snacking can help you lose weight. However, one of the reasons some nutritionists tout its benefits is the ability to help curb your appetite. Often when we overeat it’s because we are incredibly hungry by the time we get to that next meal.
“Avoiding extreme hunger increases the likelihood that you’ll pick the healthy snack rather than raiding the doughnut box in the break room or overeating at meals,” explains Lisa Baertlein.
By making sure we keep low-calorie, nutrient-rich snacks around we don’t feel the need to eat as much during our next meal.
How To Choose Healthy Snacks
Everybody snacks at some point. The one thing nutritionists agree on is, if you’re going to nibble, make sure it’s healthy. Most suggest eating carrots, cottage cheese, apples, and nuts. For a bigger list of nutritious ideas, check out my article on anti-inflammatory foods. Not only will it give you some great ideas of healthy snacks but it also explains benefits.
Just be sure, no matter what you’re snacking on, always stay mindful. For instance, nuts might offer great nutritional value but also pack calories. You only need a small handful to get the recommended amount. There are many phone apps like Myfitnesspal that can help you keep your snacks at the recommended number of calories. This way you don’t overeat even when you think you’re being healthy.
The key to any healthy diet is to be mindful about what you’re putting into your body. So the next time you choose a tasty morsel from the cupboard, stop and think to yourself: Am I getting the most of what I’m consuming?
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