Monday, June 27, 2011

Don't Blame Snacking for Weight Gain

If you're trying to lose or maintain your weight, it seems backwards to eat food more frequently each day. People often think that snacking should be avoided and that consuming three square meals per day is the best way to stay lean and trim. However, there's plenty of evidence to suggest the contrary and better yet, new research defends the fact that snacking isn't responsible for our society's rising obesity rates.

According to U.S. researchers, snacking accounts for 25% of the calories consumed by Americans, which can actually count as an entire extra meal, clocking in at an average of 580 calories each day. Despite this fact, snacking isn't the main culprit when it comes to weight gain. The main offender has been found to be the consumption of calorie-laden beverages.

While it might be intuitive that snacking is a main cause of obesity, professor G. Harvey Anderson from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto has said that this notion is not supported in literature. Quite the contrary, those foods are an "important source of nutrients" and if they are reasonably sized and spaced out, they can help maintain a fast metabolism and efficient use of food energy. This, in turn can contribute to the maintenance of a healthy body weight.

In sum, it's a good idea to avoid excessive intakes of calorie-laden beverages like alcohol, juice or sports drinks and stick to water, black coffee or tea instead. Choose fibre-rich fruit and vegetables along with lean sources of protein and healthy fats as snacks and you may find yourself looking and feeling better than ever.