If you google for “is snacking healthy” here is what you will find:
"Even though snacking has developed a "bad image," snacks can be an important part of your diet. They can provide energy in the middle of the day. A snack between meals can also decrease your hunger and keep you from overeating at meal time."
Everything about this paragraph is so wrong. Snacking is not part of a healthy human’s diet. Let me explain.
- Needing energy 2-3 hours after eating
Animals that graze all day, like cows, have to eat in this pattern in order to get adequate nutrition, because what they eat has low nutritional value. On the other hand foods with adequate amounts of protein and fat are more satisfying and you end-up eating the less often. They are more nutritional dense which means they have the right nutritional profile.
Therefore, when you eat snacks (which are mostly processed food) your blood sugar goes up and down all the day. You will be always hungry, emotionally and viscerally. This will also lead to more snacking and is a sign of being metabolically unhealthy.
Feeling hungry means you did not eat what your body needed. It also can mean that you are hypo-glycemic especially if you are looking for something sweet!
- Snacking will keep you from overeating
It is actually the exact opposite! Snacking will keep you constantly hungry since you are not sending any satiety signals (via the hormone leptin). The advice of keeping the meals frequent and often is behind the calorie restriction philosophy which is leaving millions of people hungry and overweight!
The practice of fasting really means to abstain from something and it can apply to every aspect of life. As we eat more often then we also need to use social media too much, and watch too much TV. And many of these daily habits are addictive as much as food can be. Everything we do in life that is too much is too toxic in some way and we need to practice fasting as a means of cleansing our body and our mind!
Here comes intermittent fast. Fasting should not be even a thing. It is part of who we are. That is normal. Eat 2 times a day and get some coffee just for fun!
Of-course, the benefits of fasting extend to much more than what we discussed. Fasting is so embedded into our physiology that eating and drinking through out the day will switch off normal physiological pathways such are Human Growth Hormone secretion, autophagy, recycling of old and dead proteins, balancing mTOR and AmPK and more.
Snacking is emotianal
A snack is always an emotional event! A snack is for the brain. It is a phycological state not a nutritional activity. When we snack it is an emotional activity which has nothing to do with nutrition. It might be boredom, procrastination, stress but it is almost never about nutrition.
If you are really hungry then sit and eat a proper meal until you are satisfied. Being satisfied is a state where the brain signals to the body (and vice-versa) that we got all the nutrients we needed.
- The need for snacking is an indication of poor sugar management.
- More often than not, snacking is an emotional event which will lead to poor quality food choices and overeating!
What you can do
Listen to your body : If you are not hungry don’t eat. If you are hungry eat your proper meal until satisfied.
Prioritise protein and fat : In order to feel satiated always start with protein, then add some healthy fat and finish off with some healthy carbs and veggies. This simple approach will provide you with the right satiety since it will give you the nutrition your body is looking for.
Hydrate : Ensure you are well hydrated. Many people are not hungry just thristy!
- Snacking can’t be part of a healthy diet.
- Try to remove the emotional aspects of snacking by eating nutritional dense meals and until satisfied.