People have different opinions when it comes to snacking. While some believe it’s healthy, others think it can only harm you and make you gain weight. In essence, snacking is consuming food or beverages between your primary and regular meals. If you are a fan of snacking, it’s safe to assume you have popular snacks ready at home.
When people hear the term “snack foods,” many think it only refers to popular snacks that are high-calorie and processed like cookies and chips. However, snacking simply means eating between meals, regardless if the food is healthy or not. Typically, the motivation behind snacking is hunger.
Aside from hunger, other key factors include social environment, location, food availability, and time of the day. It is also likely for people to snack when there are appetizing food options around even if they are not hungry at all. One study found out that people choose unhealthy snacks as a response to temptation.
Temptation is followed by hunger and then low energy levels. In many cases, the desire to eat in between meals and its effects on health can be highly individualized. Factors that can also influence snacking include beliefs and age whether the practice of snacking is healthy or otherwise.
Can Snacking Boost Your Metabolism?
While some suggest that eating every few hours can boost metabolism, scientific evidence does not support this. What some research indicates is that meal frequency has no significant impact or effect on the number of calories that you burn. Another study, those who ate two or more meals a day found no difference in calories burned.
The Significant Effects of Snacking
Effects on appetite
How snacking affects food intake and appetite is not universally agreed upon. For instance, one study indicated that while snacks can satisfy hunger and promote feelings of fullness, their calories will not be compensated for at your next meal. This often results in an increased calorie intake for the day.
Another study that involved 44 participants with obesity or excess weight indicated that eating a bedtime snack that is rich in carbs or protein has led to greater feelings of fullness and decreased hunger the next morning. However, the study revealed that insulin levels in the participants are also higher.
Based on the varied results, it would seem like snacking’s effect on a person’s appetite will depend on the type of snack consumed and the individual.
Effects on weight
Many research have indicated that snacking between meals won’t affect the weight in any way. However, some studies also revealed that eating high-fiber and protein-rich snacks can help you lose weight. Other studies also indicate that snacking may also lead to slower weight loss (and in some cases, even weight gain).
Other studies suggest that the timing of the snacks might also affect one’s weight. A study in 11 lean women revealed that consuming a snack that’s 190-calorie at around 11 p.m. caused them to burn less fat compared to consuming the same snack at 10 a.m. The mixed results revealed that the effect of snacks on weight can vary by individuals and time of day.
Effects on blood sugar
While some people believe it is important to frequently eat to maintain a stable blood sugar level during the day, it’s not always the case. A study of people with Type 2 diabetes discovered that eating 2 large meals each day resulted in better insulin sensitivity, greater weight loss, and lower fasting blood sugar levels.
Understandably, they discovered that the amount and the type of snacks consumed are two of the primary factors that can affect blood sugar levels.