For Us Snack Junkies
Tips on How to Snack & Lose More Weight
Snacking while dieting is a tricky beast. (Well, honestly any eating and dieting is a tricky beast—i.e., all we dieters can seem to think about is food, no?) A recent study found that women dieters who had a mid-morning snack lost less weight than those who did not. While mid-morning snacking, on average, led to less weight loss, the researchers explain that snacking can actually aid weight loss and give tips on how to do it the right way. (We were really hoping the “right way” included a mandatory 4 P.M. peanut butter shake, but alas…)
The study illustrates the importance of snacking only in response to true hunger. Researchers found that women dieters who snacked between breakfast and lunch lost seven percent of their total body weight, while those who ate nothing between their breakfast and lunch lost more than 11 percent their body weight. The lead researcher, Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, explains that the mid-morning snackers lost less weight because the interval between breakfast and lunch is quite short, so snacking at that time is generally less about satisfying hunger and more about eating mindlessly or out of boredom.
Snacking can be a tool that helps dieters, if done right. McTiernan recommends:
- Snack only if you have more than five hours between meals, as this may help prevent excess hunger from taking over (hunger which may, hypothetically, lead to eating an entire Chipotle burrito, chips, guac, and a large froyo…we hear).
- Don’t snack too soon before your next meal.
- Eat healthy foods that make you feel full but aren’t high in calories (shoot for fewer than 200 calories per serving).
- Opt for fresh fruits, non-starchy vegetables, a small handful of nuts, low-fat yogurt, string cheese, whole-grain crackers and non-calorie beverages like water, coffee and tea. (As expected, no peanut butter shake mentioned.)
Of course, studies show that the most commonly preferred snacks are salty goodies like potato chips and pretzels as well as baked goods like cookies, cakes and ice cream—precisely the empty calorie foods that can devastate your weight loss dreams. So, until someone figures out a way to take the calories out of French fries, we’ll try to stick to the less exciting stuff.
Source: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (2011, November). Mid-morning snacking may sabotage weight-loss efforts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬/releases/2011/11/111128132716.htm
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