Mid-Morning Snacking May Sabotage Weight-Loss Efforts
Skipping that mid-morning snack might be a good idea, especially if it’s of the unhealthy variety. “Women dieters who grab a snack between breakfast and lunch lose less weight compared to those who abstain from a mid-morning snack,” according to a study led by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Sciences Division and director of its Prevention Center, reported in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association that study participants who snacked mid-morning lost an average of 7 percent of their total body weight while those who ate a healthy breakfast but did not snack before lunch lost more than 11 percent of their body weight. For the study, a snack was defined as any food or drink that was consumed between main meals.
While snacking too close to a main meal may be detrimental to weight loss, waiting too long between meals also may sabotage dieting efforts, she said.
“Our study suggests that snacking may actually help with weight loss if not done too close to another meal, particularly if the snacks are healthy foods that can help you feel full without adding too many calories.”
The problem is that most commonly preferred snacks are salty and crunchy items such as potato chips, pretzels and nuts; baked goods such as cookies and cakes; and ice cream. According to the researchers, “The best snacks for a weight-loss program are proteins such as low-fat yogurt, string cheese or a small handful of nuts; non-starchy vegetables; fresh fruits; whole-grain crackers; and non-calorie beverages such as water, coffee and tea.”