Tags:

Snacks for Better Health

Tuesday, 11 May 2010 05:26 PM


Over the past 30 years, we’ve been snacking more and getting heavier, but there’s also evidence that eating more frequently than three times a day can improve your health. It all depends on your choice of snacks.

That may sound like common sense but today’s popular eating habits are anything but logical. A study of 31,000 children by researchers at the University of North Carolina found that kids are getting 27 percent of their daily calories from snacks, mostly non-nutritious ones like sweetened beverages and candy.

The increase in snacking among both kids and adults parallels the rise in obesity and its associated risks, such as heart disease and diabetes. However, rather than stretching your waistline and damaging your health, the right types of snacks can be beneficial.

Why Snacks Are Important

“I’ve counseled patients for 20 years and one of the things that tends to occur, whenever somebody is trying to control their food intake, is they resist food when they want it and then overcompensate,” says Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. Having a snack can solve the problem.

More than 20 years ago, researchers at the University of Toronto found that eating smaller, more frequent meals rather than the traditional three-a-day lowered cholesterol levels and reduced risk for diabetes. And, eating more frequently didn’t make people gain weight.

Since then, other studies have confirmed that the right types of snacks can produce health benefits. “But,” cautions Katz, “where we’ve fallen off the tracks is with the particular foods we’ve chosen to snack on.”

Good Snacks

Nuts contain healthy fat, fiber, protein, and other nutrients, a combination that keeps you full for a while and may offer some additional health perks. For example, in studies, almonds and walnuts lowered cholesterol and didn’t produce weight gain.

A typical healthy portion of these nuts is one ounce or 1/4 cup: 12 to 14 walnut halves or about 23 almonds. For other ways to measure one ounce of almonds, fill a shot glass or cover a 3-inch square sticky note with one layer of the nuts.

Given the snacking temptations that surround us, carrying around a bag of nuts may not seem too appealing. In that case, you can try KIND bars. They look almost like candy bars but are, in fact, a tasty, real-food combination of nuts and dried fruit without any chemical additives.

In a study of 94 overweight people led by Katz, half were told to eat two KIND bars each day for eight weeks while the others were told to just continue their regular diet. No other advice was given. Although the two bars added up to about 350 calories, no one gained weight. It appears that people eating the KIND bars spontaneously ate smaller amounts of other, less nutritious foods. You can find them at Starbucks, Trader Joe's, The Vitamin Shoppe, or Whole Foods locations or read more about them at www.kindsnacks.com.

Living in a fast-food world, the only way we can eat healthy snacks is with a little planning. If you get hungry between meals and leftover morning doughnuts or an office vending machine are your only options, you’re between a rock and a hard place. Having some nuts or healthy bars at hand is an easy way to eat real food that does you some good.

© HealthDay

 
1Like our page
2Share
Diet-And-Fitness
Over the past 30 years, we’ve been snacking more and getting heavier, but there’s also evidence that eating more frequently than three times a day can improve your health. It all depends on your choice of snacks.
558
2010-26-11
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 05:26 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved