To Snack or Not to Snack?

Snacking, such a popular subject and something that’s become a bit of a business in that there is such choice for snacks from energy balls, to sweet potato brownies and healthy flapjacks etc. Whilst I’m thrilled that the Snack market is focusing on healthier offerings, do we really need to be snacking so much?

Snacking is not for everyone, but it is for some people. Those with certain digestive issues may benefit from eating smaller more regular meals, likewise those with sub optimal energy levels may feel better eating little and often. But often when I’m asked about whether snacking is OK or not, it is within the context of weight loss.

What it really comes down is blood sugar mismanagement.

If we eat a meal full of refined carbs, like toast and jam or cereal, we will have a quick energy spike due to the carbohydrates being broken down into sugars which triggers the body very quickly to release insulin which not only gives us an energy spike but also shunts the sugar from food into our fat cells, making us fatter and hungrier. This is followed by a sharp fall which makes us hungry again, which is when we snack.

If our snack is a biscuit or two with our tea, a flapjack masquerading as a health food, a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar, we start this whole process again. Not only making us fatter but giving us a roller coaster of energy throughout the day which also contributes to stress within our bodies.

So, if we eat complex carbohydrates at our main meals with a portion of protein and a small portion of healthy fat such as hummus, avocado, nuts and seeds, the sugar breaks down a lot more slowly so we get a gradual insulin spike and gradual sustained energy release which keeps our blood sugar levels stable and keeps us fuller and more satisfied for longer, meaning we should not need to snack.

So, in an ideal world, if we want to manage our blood sugar, reduce stress and manage weight, there is no place for snacking.

I sense you’re all wondering what a healthy snack may look like? Stay tuned for my next blog!