Why snacking in between meals is a bad idea
Growing up I was told you should eat at least three meals a day plus add around three snacks a day in between. You had to keep the motor running so to speak. But why snacking in between meals is a bad idea, I’ll tell you below.
Eat six small meals a day..
Can you still remember that recommendation? The theory behind the snacking ‘diet’ was that you would keep your stove burning all the time. Every time you eat your body has to work to burn of the calories. And – according to the fans of this theory – that way your body is in constant fat burning mode.
More recent research however shows time and time again that all that snacking can have a rather bad effect on your health, your fat burning and eventually, your weight. Your body – being constantly supplied with glucose from all the snacking – doesn’t even know how to burn fats and will instead rely on the quicker fuel; glucose.
‘Yes, but I won’t make it without a snack in between!’ That is the much heard excuse for having another snack. “I get shaky and dizzy if I don’t eat every three hours or so.’ A sure sign that your blood glucose is all over the place.
Every time you eat your body has to process the glucose in your food and has to produce insuline. Digestion takes energy and time. By eating snacks every three hours your digestion has to restart a process that is not properly finished from the last meal.
Too much carbs
And what snacks would you be most inclined to eat? An energy bar? A donut? All of them full with fast carbs which only make you hungry again after a few hours. And so the endless cycle continues.
Say you eat a sandwich in the morning with some peanut butter or jelly. Or peanut butter ánd jelly. Mostly fast carbs that will be digested quickly and will enter your blood stream as glucose. In order to process that glucose your pancreas gets the sign to produce insulin. The insulin is needed to store the glucose as either glycogen in your liver and muscles or if that is full (and the storage capacity is rather small) it will be stored as fat. All that insulin will make your blood sugar drop, giving you the shakes again and makes you want to reach for another donut. And the process repeats.
So yes, if you continue to eat like that, your body will be asking for food all the time. But that over kill of glucose is something your body won’t be able to use or process. Like I said insulin is a storage hormone and all that excess glucose will be neatly stored as fat. Which will make you fat in the short or in the long term.
Eat more healthy fats
In a totally different scenario imagine eating a fried or boiled egg in the morning on some flax seed crackers and an avocado. The fats, protein and fibre in this breakfast will make your pancreas release a moderate amount of insulin. Your blood sugar will rise but gradually and slowly and will go down again in the same gradual way. It will not make you feel shaky or dizzy and will not give you those hunger pangs at 10am. You’ll feel perfectly content until your next meal.
Eat three meals a day
When you eat three meals a day (or why not try intermittent fasting and do with two meals a day), that don’t contain too much carbs you won’t feel like snacking all the time and your weight and your health will certainly thank you for it.
And when you’re really hungry have a protein or fatty snack that will make you feel full longer and better.
- Lichter – door William Cortvriendt