When we eat, insulin levels in our body increase. When we space out our meals, we give our body time to rest. Eating frequently, or too much snacking, can result in blood sugar irregularities, a roller coaster ride so to speak. Proper snacking however, can be that bridge between staying satiated and not overeating at mealtime. Some of us need to snack, whereas others should avoid snacking altogether. Snacking, therefore, is very individual.
Ηighly active people tend to have more of a need to snack. Those with diabetes or hypoglycemia may need to snack if their blood sugar falls too low. If you fall into one of these groups, choose snacks that are high in protein and fibre, low in carbohydrates and less than 200 calories.
Examples of these include:
- Nuts and seeds
- Veggies, guacamole, and cheese
- Apples and nut butter
- Protein Shake
- Boiled eggs
- Yogourt and berries
- Salmon and sardines
For individuals watching their weight, I would advise steering away from snacking or limiting snacks to once a day. Eating three good size, nutrition-dense meals a day results in lower fasting blood sugars and better insulin sensitivity, which results in greater weight loss. Snacking can add substantial calories to your day, which may hinder weight loss, particularly if leading a sedentary lifestyle.
If you constantly find that you’re hungry throughout the day, perhaps you need to implement some measure to help control leptin, otherwise known as the “satiety hormone”, and ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”
To help increase leptin and feel fuller,
- consume enough fibre and limit fructose consumption.
- consume complex carbohydrates; veggies
- consume a good amount of protein at breakfast
- Omega 3s
- Avoid severe caloric restrictions
- Get adequate amount of sleep
Eating three meals a day of mostly whole and nutrient-rich foods, getting adequate sleep, managing stress, and staying active, as well as sufficient protein and good fats such as Omega 3s have been proven to help control ghrelin levels.
The answer isn’t black and white. If you’re concerned about your diet and how to best structure your meals to fulfill your weight and health objectives, consult the advice of a nutritionist who can help you craft the right plan for your individual needs.
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