Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

About The Buzz: Can Snacking Help You Lose Weight?

October 26, 2016

About the Buzz: Can Snacking Help You Lose Weight? Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org

TheBUZZ Can Snacking Help You Lose Weight?


WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

The frequency of snacking continues to rise and snack foods are having an increasingly high impact on individuals’ caloric intake – either positively or negatively, depending on their snacking behavior.

WHAT WE KNOW

Many nutrition experts now regularly recommend that rather than rely on 2-3 large meals, people eat smaller portions of food, including healthy snacks, throughout the day to aid weight loss. Snacking has become so common that it is now often referred to as the “fourth meal” since the practice continues to contribute a major portion of daily nutrients.

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS

Snacking accounts for 24% of the average individual’s daily calories, with 97% of adults snacking at least once per day.1,2 Surveys of snackers show that those who snack more tend to eat more fruits and vegetables. The issue is that high frequency snackers also tend to eat more overall, including more calories from solid fats and added sugars. Additionally, despite frequent snackers eating more fruits and vegetables overall, the majority of both men and women are still not eating enough produce items to meet recommended requirements.3 While snacking on healthful fruits and vegetables can help promote weight loss, it is important to consider the bigger picture. Inattentive snacking, frequency of snacking and nutritional quality of snacks chosen can all affect what snacking can mean to your waistline.4 More research is needed to lend further support to best practice recommendations regarding snacking behavior, but there are some strategies that have been shown to have beneficial impacts.

OUR ADVICE

If you are someone who likes to snack, make it an opportunity to include more nutritious foods in your diet. Focusing on including fruits and vegetables will ensure you are getting high quality snacks that can aid in maintaining a healthy weight and diet.

 

1 Snacks: Percentages of selected nutrients contributed by food and beverages consumed at snack occasions, by gender and age, in the United States, 2011-2012. What We Eat in America, NHANES 2011-2012. 2014. Table 25. View

2 Snacks: Distribution of snack occasions, by gender and age, in the United States, 2011-2012. What We Eat in America, NHANES 2011-2012. 2014. Table 29. View

3 R. Sebastian, C. Wilkinson Enns, J.D. Goldman. Snacking Patters of U.S. Adults. What We Eat in America, NHANES, 2007-2008. 2011. View

4 F. Bellisle. Meals and snacking, diet quality and energy balance. Physiological Behavior, 2014, 134; 38-43. View

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