With research showing that over 95% of the US population snack between meals, it’s a good idea to know whether snacks can help or prevent weight loss. The truth is that snacking whilst on a diet has both pros and cons, and the amount of weight loss observed will depend on both the types of snacks eaten and the time of day in which they are eaten.
Pros of Snacks
As shown above, with so many people snacking as part of their daily regime, it can be incredibly hard to stop when following a weight loss regime. But maybe you don’t have to. Many nutritionists advise people to eat every three to four hours to ensure that their metabolism is maintained. Snacking prevents over-eating at meal times and prevents the failure of weight loss regimes due to hunger pangs.
Cons of Snacks
Most people don’t associate snacks for weight loss as being a good thing. This is mainly because when we thing about snack types we instantly think of things like crisps, chocolates, biscuits and other unhealthy foods. These types of foods are clearly never going to fit into a weight loss regime. When eating snacks, most people do not allocate a percentage of their daily calorie allowance to them either, so snacking and weight loss don’t seem to go together.
A study undertaken in Seattle followed the eating plans of 123 overweight and obese women aged between 50 and 75 over a twelve month period. The researchers gave each woman a diet plan to follow and counselled them about the importance of nutrition however they did not mention anything about snack for weight loss or give any advice about whether they should snack or not.
The results were quite surprising and found that weight loss success was often down to the types of snacks consumed as well as the time that snacks were eaten. Research found that the women who did not eat a weight loss snack between breakfast and lunch, but did eat one between lunch and dinner had the highest weight loss at the end of the study. The research also found that women who did not eat a weight loss snack between lunch and dinner lost less weight than those who did.
Are Snacks Good for Weight Loss?
From the research above we can conclude to some extent that a weight loss snack eaten between lunch and dinner can be very beneficial to a weight loss programme. However, it is important to be mindful of the type of snacks eaten and not just consume empty carbs or high calorific foods. Foods that are recommended include low fat cheeses, nuts and non-starchy fruits. Drinks should be kept to water, low calorie squash, tea or coffee. Portion sizes also need to be taken into account as these can drastically alter the results of a weight loss regime. What is understood however is that it is a bad idea to not eat when you feel hungry. Weight loss snacks can help curb the hunger pangs until dinner time and they can also prevent over-eating.