Is snacking healthy? Should you snack? If you find you are chronically grazing on many small meals throughout your day because of excessive hunger, you can likely blame imbalanced blood sugar and not eating for satiety. In this post we talk about snacking along with some healthy snack ideas for when a gap snack might be necessary.
Is Snacking Healthy? Should You Snack?
Let’s talk about snacks baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things, that may be. Let’s talk about snacks! hahah. Sorry. I digress. Seriously though. Determining what to eat is challenging enough of a question, but add to that, the question of when and how often to eat – this adds a whole new additional layer of unanswered inquiries and confusion for many.
Smaller More Frequent Meals Helps Boost Metabolism, Right?
While convention nutritional advice long touted 5-6 small meals throughout the day as a means to increase your metabolism and encourage fat loss, this antiquated approach doesn’t look at the full scope of our day and what is actually happening in the body with every snack or small meal. For so long, many “experts” believed the idea that many small meals is theoretically “stoking the metabolic fire,” while less frequent meals “slow your metabolism.” The thought process was that eating many small meals keeps your metabolism plugging away at a high rate for the entire day, helping you burn more fat. Conversely, it was thought that going too long between meals slows down your metabolism, so that when you do eat, your body is sluggish to respond to the caloric load and you end up storing it as fat.
Sounds pretty smart, right? But, guess what, it’s just not true. There isn’t any science to support it or research that proves smaller, more frequent meals has any metabolic advantage.
What we do know, as research has shown, the more you eat the more insulin your body releases, and this constant output of insulin interrupts the intended flow of blood sugar.
With every meal there is a rise in our blood sugar (which is just the amount of free glucose in our bloodstream) then a release of insulin follows. With lots of small meals through the day that means a blood sugar rollercoaster of highs and lows that can cause additional cravings, fat storage, mood changes, irritability and more.
Besides that, with every meal or snack that we eat, our body has to begin the process of digestion, this takes energy and time, as your body is breaking down the food into usable molecules that are absorbed by the body and utilized appropriately. This process takes energy away from other repairs and tasks your body should be doing. Anything we eat that the body cannot absorb or use in some capacity is then stored as fat. Whenever we snack this stops the process of our body using stored body fat in between meals.
The goal is to instead build a day with more steady blood sugar by getting enough fat and protein at every meal to reach satiety and not solely relying on refined starchy carbs and sugar for quick hits.