The Science of Snacking: 5 Benefits of Eating between MealsFebruary 10, 2022
Snacking has a mixed and long history of discourse. Even researches have varied conclusions on its upshot to human health. Some argue it’s healthy while some suggest it can contribute to weight gain and obesity.
In this blog, we gathered all the finest studies highlighting a closer look to its science and benefits.
What is Snacking?
Basically, snacking is the consumption of food or drinks between regular meals.
With some exceptions, food for snacking are usually processed, high calorie items like sweet, salty and fatty foods. From chips and cookies to ice cream and cake, you can tell just by asking yourself your favorite snack treats.
While hunger is the main drive for snacking, some factors like social environment, time of day and availability may fuel the desire to eat outside regular meals.
Irregular Eating vs Healthy Snacking
Irregular eating differs from healthy snacking. An irregular eating habit results in an increase in fat rate and causes you to put on weight. It’s the consumption of food more than necessary.
Meanwhile, healthy snacking is eating between regular meals on definite times instead of continuously eating.
A healthy snack includes food items that have important nutrients, are low in saturated fat, added sugar, and sodium content. It fuels your body and leaves you feeling filled to prevent cravings and overeating on your next regular meal.
5 Benefits of Healthy Snacking
Healthy snacking may affect our health differently based on individualized factors such as age, gender, lifestyle and other conditions. Here are 5 well-documented benefits of eating between regular meals according to studies.
1. It may help reduce hunger.
In a 2014 study of men eating a high-protein, high-fiber snack bar, researchers found that subjects have lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and higher levels of the fullness hormone GLP-1.
Additionally, it helps curb your appetite to prevent overeating at the next meal.
2. It may help you lose weight.
A few studies suggest that eating protein-rich, high-fiber snacks can help you shed some pounds.
In a journal published in the National Library of Medicine, a study in 17 people with diabetes revealed that scheduled snacking on high protein and slow-digesting carbs resulted in an average weight loss of 2.2 pounds (1 kg) within 4 weeks.
3. It may improve blood sugar control.
According to an article published by the Michigan State University Extension, healthy snacking keeps blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible and helps prevent low blood sugar, hypoglycemia. The key is portion-control and choosing your snack wisely.
4. It may increase metabolic rate.
Some experts believe that eating more often keeps your metabolism cranking, so you burn more calories over the course of a day. Eating large meals with many hours in between may cause your metabolism to slow down.
5. It may provide a boost of energy.
It’s very common to feel a lull in energy levels if you don’t eat between meals. Snacking may prevent your blood sugar levels from hitting a low and will keep you feeling energized all day long especially if you want to be more physically active.
Further studies are still needed to provide concrete and consistent evidence in the benefits of snacking. In the end, it still counts to watch your portion and food choices to make snacking surely healthy and wholesome.
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