For snackaholics, reducing excess noshing between meals is no easy task.
A recent study found that American adults eat the same number of calories as a meal per day in snacks alone, which do not provide much nutritional value.
Christopher Taylor, author of the study and professor of medical dietetics at The Ohio State University’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, recommended starting a “healthy snacking pattern” to avoid the extra 500 calories the average person consumes.
“We’ve gotten to the point of vilifying individual foods, but we have to look at the whole picture,” Taylor said in a statement. “Removing added sugars will not automatically improve vitamin C, vitamin D, phosphorus and iron. And if we eliminate refined grains, we lose the nutrients that come with fortification.
In short: “Replacement becomes just as important as removal.”
Some experts say there’s a secret weapon to making it easier to quit junk food cold turkey: fiber.
In addition to regulating blood sugar and its detoxifying properties, functional medicine clinical nutritionist Dr. Pooja Mahtani tells PopSugar that it “aids digestion by promoting regularity and preventing constipation, and it Also helps you feel full for longer.”
Instead of reaching for oily potato chips, a bag of candy or other pantry junk, experts say snacks like artichokes, chia seeds, blueberries, mixed nuts, whole-wheat crackers, chickpeas, popcorn and avocado, like guacamole or Truffles, all are high fiber options.
However, recent studies have found that Americans pay more attention to foods with low nutritional value that are high in sugar, fat or carbohydrates, while fruits and vegetables comprise only 5% of the calories consumed in snacks. It happens.
And, as the holiday season approaches with delicious sweets, Christmas cookies, fruit cakes, pecan pies, it becomes important to plan in advance to meet nutritional needs.
We think about what we’re going to pack for lunch and what we’re going to cook for dinner. But we don’t plan our breakfast like this. Then you’re at the mercy of what’s available in your environment,” Taylor said.
For the study, published last week in the journal PLOS Global Public Health, researchers looked at data from more than 23,000 Americans over the age of 30 who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which collected 24-hour dietary data. , which showed what was eaten and when.
The participants were then divided into four groups: non-diabetic, pre-diabetic, controlled diabetes and poorly controlled diabetes.
While only one day’s food consumption is not indicative of people’s habitual eating patterns, it can provide a “really good snapshot of a large number of people” and help experts identify “nutritional deficiencies” or the need for further dietary education. Can help identify. Prevent chronic disease.
In all four categories, snacks account for about 19% to more than 22% of total calories per day, but provide limited nutritional value.
The team found that people who had controlled type 2 diabetes ate less sugary junk food and ate less food between meals than people without diabetes or those considered to have pre-diabetes.
While snacks are a significant contributor to what we eat, they’re not actually meals, Taylor said.
“You know what dinner will be like: a protein, a side dish or two. But if you just eat what you eat for breakfast, it becomes a completely different scenario, typically, carbohydrates, sugars, not much protein, not much fruit, not vegetables.’
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