How Snacking Can Help (Or Hurt) Weight Loss

Two compelling theories on weight loss…to snack or not to snack…that is the question.

Maybe you have heard about the latest diet craze which includes snacking every two hours, so you decided to try your own version of that. Within about a week, you realize you gained weight and that is definitely not the diet for you… What went wrong? How did you not lose weight when your Facebook friend did this for two months and is down 4 dress sizes?! How frustrating!

In order to compare apples to apples, we need to really look at not only what you ate, but how much you ate to explain whether or not snacking is a good thing for weight loss and why you gained the weight that you were supposed to lose!


Snacking 101

Snacking seems like a very simple thing yet involves so many decisions if you want to do it in a healthy way. As you already know, snacking is eating a small amount of food between meals. If you are concerned about weight loss, snacking should be a well thought out, preplanned process that takes calories, and macros into account so you are snacking right for YOU-not your Facebook friend. It should not be a haphazard, spur-of-the-moment decision while your stomach is growling. No one can be trusted to make smart decisions when we are so hungry even the wrapper looks tempting!

How many times have we searched for a snack right after we have finished a meal, only to ruin the smart decisions we made at the dinner table? Most of us who turn to snack after a meal isn’t really hungry at all. We just want “something sweet” to finish off our night.


Snacking Truths

There are a lot of us who snack. This is because most of us love eating snacks. Research has shown that at least 43% of people around the world consistently eat snacks and 94% of Americans eat snacks regularly. That’s a lot of snacks!

There are studies that have shown that having 1-3 snacks a day is a great way to keep your blood sugar from dropping so low that it can give you a headache. A great way to combat this is to eat high-fiber, low-carb snacks which are also best for type II diabetic patients and people suffering from reactive hypoglycemia.

The truth hurts, but sometimes you just have to know that not all snacks are created equal. By controlling the portion size, protein, carbs, and calories in your daily snacks, it is possible to stick to a diet and make it work for you. It can also be fun if you change them up and create new, healthy versions of your old favorites.

Snacking Tips:

Calories Count so tries to keep each of your daily snacks less than 150 calories. This way, you will hopefully be hungry for your next meal but not famished.

Carbs Count so choose a snack that is low in carbs and sugar so that your blood sugar doesn’t spike up your insulin level. This is very important because when insulin levels are high, the body can’t use it to burn fats.

Protein Counts so find creative ways to increase your daily lean protein intake so that you stay full for a longer period of time.

Fiber counts so make sure you eat foods like vegetables and fruits which give the body plenty of fiber to keep things moving along your gastrointestinal tract.

Hunger counts so be aware of the cues your body is sending you when you are hungry vs when you are just in the mood to chew something. Never wait until you are starving and weak to enjoy a healthy snack. Most likely it’s time for a meal if you get to that point.

Portion size counts so fill your snack bags with your healthy options before your week begins. You are guaranteed to make better choices if they are already portioned out. A very important point is that you CAN get too much of a good thing, so measure out your snacks so that you are not sabotaging your success by eating more than one serving of something that is very easy to overeat like nuts or cheese.

Water counts (a lot) so drink plenty of it throughout the day. This helps to avoid dehydration, especially in the summer when we tend to sweat more. Water has zero calories and is another way to keep your stomach filled up so you can eat less. Water is a natural lubricant for your internal organs and joints and helps keep your skin well hydrated.

So, in short, snacking can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. If you choose to snack on healthy foods in portions that are measured out, you will find that snacking will help you in your weight loss journey. If you leave it up to chance, fate, or magic, you may be consuming more of the wrong foods and unfortunately see the scale tip upwards and have to change your ways to more mindful snacking. There’s no day like today, so try healthy snacking and you may start to look and feel better before you know it!