Weight loss tip: Limit snacking

Weight loss tip 130 - Limit snackingWeight loss tip 130 - Limit snacking

Snacking may be the enemy of weight loss.  

Weight loss tip 130 - Limit snacking

Weight loss tip 130 – Limit snacking

Chips, nachos and curls

Chips, nachos, and curls

Over the years, I have seen many suggestions to assist with weight loss.  If you bring up snacking in front of dietitians, medical providers, and fitness buffs, you will receive many different opinions.  Many will argue that it is unhealthy.  I have seen some suggest that should have snacks while other suggest you avoid it.  Some suggest that you read up to six times per day what others recommend eating only three times per day or less.  What is the correct answer?Snacking is a proverbial dual-edged sword.  

Snacking advocates argue that eating a small amount in between meals will curb your appetite and prevent binging.   They will also add that the little “mini meals” will stabilize your blood sugar and to avoid overeating at future meals.  The problem with this concept is there is insufficient research to back up snacking as a preventative measure.  In fact, I would argue that these ploys are nothing more than an attempt by the food industry through lobbying expert groups to push their products.  If you are going to the grocery store, they produced a whole product line of hundred calorie snack packs to entice you into purchasing them.  Most of the snack packs are nothing more than unhealthy processed sugary foods that have limited nutritional value outside of calories.

  So why is snagging a problem?  The snack controversy centers around the cause of obesity.  Obesity, in general, is caused by insulin resistance which is the process that causes metabolic syndrome.    I would argue that the rise in obesity today is caused by our current eating habits.  Many of us start eating in the morning and eat nearly every part of the day.  Our meals are separated by protracted grazing for snacks throughout the day.  This causes an avalanche of many insulin spikes throughout the day and limits our ability to regulate our blood sugar.  These many spikes because of abdominal fat deposition and hunger.   The more abdominal fat you have, the higher your insulin resistance.  The higher your insulin resistance, the harder it is to regulate your blood sugar. Insulin resistance and abdominal obesity are genuinely the ever-enlarging snowballs that you see rolling downhill in a cartoon.  

The bottom line: Snacking is a proverbial dual-edged sword.  Uncontrolled snacking may increase insulin resistance and abdominal obesity or it may prevent binging.  I suspect that it depends on what you eat, so chose wisely.   

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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