After reading this article, you will be able to decide for yourself whether snacking is good or bad for you.
Do you snack much? If yes, what foods do you most often nibble on? What tempts you to snack? Is it the delicious food, social setting/culture, boredom, or peer pressure? Or it has become part of your daily routine. I would strongly advise you to read on if you fit the above description.
The Science of Snacking
Snacking is the practice of consuming foods/beverages in between your regular meals. Snack foods range from processed foods like chips, cola, and chocolates to healthy foods like nuts, seeds, yogurt, and vegetables. The frequency varies from once a day to three or more times a day in addition to regular meals.
It is to be reiterated that our weight is not entirely dependent on the number of calories we consume. It is, in actuality, hormonally mediated. You can refer to my previous article for this. I have explained this point with examples. After several types of research, it has been found that insulin, a hormone secreted by our pancreas, is responsible for maintaining our body’s set weight.
The higher the presence of insulin in our blood, the higher will be our body set weight.
In response to the food we eat, our insulin spikes so as to enable the glucose in our blood to get into our cells to generate energy. Refined carbs lead to the secretion of most insulin, followed by protein and fats. But it is not just the quantity that matters but the frequency as well.
Suppose we take a particular dose of an antibiotic frequently for longer periods of time. What happens then? It loses its potency. Our body becomes resistant. One has to increase the dosage for its said benefits. The same happens with drugs like cocaine. When cocaine is taken for the first time, there is an intense reaction- the high. With each subsequent use of the drug, the high becomes less intense. Sometimes users start to take larger and larger doses to achieve the same high. Through constant exposure, our body develops resistance to its effects.
The same happens when the frequency of insulin secretion increases. Our body starts developing insulin resistance. Higher amounts of insulin are secreted to do the same task. Our body set weight increases. The persistence of high insulin levels leads to even more resistance thus pushing the set weight further- a vicious cycle.
How can we prevent snacking?
Obesity is time-dependent. The longer you had been in this cycle, the harder it is to break. However, the first thing you can do on your path to recovery is to get a hold of yourself and improve your eating habits. You can start by adopting the following suggestions:
- Include a lot of fats(unsaturated) and proteins in your diet. They are calorie-dense and lead to the secretion of satiating hormones in our body which will keep your cravings at bay.
- Reduce refined carbs from your diet. They are nutritionally bland and will lead to more cravings.
- Practice intermittent fasting. It will allow your elevated insulin levels to subside.
- If your job is labor-intensive and you need to eat something, go for foods like seeds, nuts, and yogurt. They are any day better than refined carbs which give you a surge of glucose for a limited period of time.
Snacking every few hours is sure to make you obese which will affect you in every aspect of your life. It is best to avoid it. It should be a luxury, not a habit.
That wraps up my article. I hope this helps you in the right direction!
I’m a passionate health coach and member of a community known as Biomarked. We aim to educate and empower people about lifestyle issues like Diabetes Type 2, PCOS, Thyroid, Fatty Liver, etc. If you are on Instagram, I have been sharing regular health nuggets and several success stories of my friends and families I have been able to help.
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