Most people have a snack at some point during the day. consistent with research wiped out in 2015 by Mintel, a marketing research firm, 94% of USA citizens snack daily. While that percentage might sound high, if you define a snack as any food eaten outside of breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it’s pretty easy to recollect the last time you ate one. Conventional diet wisdom says that to lose or maintain weight, snacking frequently throughout the day may be a must.
Though there’s some science to support this concept, there’s even as much to point out that it’s unnecessary and will have a negative effect on weight. Even dietitians are somewhat split on the difficulty.
Like many aspects of nutrition, there’s no clear-cut answer on whether snacking is sweet or bad, but there are some factors that will assist you to decide whether it’ll be useful in reaching your goals.
THE CASE FOR SNACKING
You’ve probably heard it’s an honest idea to possess 1–3 snacks per day between meals, and therefore the reasoning makes tons of sense.
When there’s an outsized timespan between meals, your blood glucose drops, which may cause you to feel tired, and irritable and even offer you a headache,” explains Anne Danahy, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based RDN.
Some people even take the approach of eating 5–6 small meals per day to assist keep themselves balanced.
“Eating smaller, frequent meals are often especially helpful for somebody who has reactive hypoglycemia or diabetes due to the blood sugar-stabilizing effect,” Danahy says.
Research has shown that, especially, high-protein, low-carb and high-fiber snacks are best at achieving this goal.
There’s also evidence that snacking can help with weight loss, particularly in those with blood glucose issues. One study showed that high-protein snacks helped Type 2 diabetes patients achieve fat loss.
Snacking also can be a helpful approach for those that have trouble with portion control, Danahy points out.
Preventing oneself from becoming overly hungry can benefit someone who struggles with mindful eating because it’s much more difficult to eat mindfully when you’re ‘hangry’ and your blood glucose is crashing,” she explains.
WHY SNACKING ISN’T ALWAYS NECESSARY
While snacking may help some people achieve a healthier eating style, it’s definitely not a requirement. “There may be a misconception within the diet world that you simply need to eat six small meals per day so as to reduce,” says Gillean Barkyoumb, MS, RD, the founding father of Millennial Nutrition.
The science behind this theory isn’t strongly supported. Studies show inconsistent results.”
In fact, snacking an excessive amount could even have another effect on your blood glucose. “The more you eat, the more you fill your body with insulin and have fluctuations in blood glucose.
This roller-coaster effect on blood glucose can cause cravings, fat storage, and irritability,” Barkyoumb says. “To avoid this, you would like to elongate your blood glucose curve by eating balanced meals with the proper amounts of protein, fat, and fiber.
If your meals are balanced and meet your calorie needs, you’ll not get to have snacks between every meal, because you’re properly nourished and fueled.”
And though many of us cite the thought of “keeping their metabolism running throughout the day” as their reason for snacking, research doesn’t support that concept. Snacking is additionally often touted as how to regulate appetite in those looking to reduce or maintain it, but several studies suggest eating snacks can even have the reverse effect by increasing the entire number of calories an individual eats during a day instead of reducing it.
Plus, not snacking allows your body an opportunity between meals. “When you’re not grazing all day, your body has time to properly digest food and truly feel hungry,” says Eliza Savage, a CDN at Middleberg Nutrition in NYC. “Yes, it’s okay to feel hungry! It’s the body’s signal to eat.” The key, she says, isn’t letting yourself get too hungry. That’s when a snack could be warranted.
As you’ll probably see now, you’ll easily find research to support each side of the snacking debate. But what research also tells us is that the way snacking affects everyone is exclusive. the will to snack and therefore the effects of that snacking is hooked into factors like age, emotional reasoning behind snacking, and even whether or not you think about snacks being mini-meals.