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Tags: mid-morning | snacks | sabotage | dieting | k mid-morning snacks and dieting | snacks and diet | snacks and weight loss

Mid-Morning Snack Sabotages Diet

Tuesday, 29 November 2011 12:39 PM EST

Think twice before grabbing that mid-morning snack. A new study found that mid-morning snackers lost less weight than dieters who ate a healthy breakfast and avoided eating a snack before lunch.
Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that those who snacked between breakfast and lunch (a snack was defined as any food or drink that was consumed between meals) lost an average of 7 percent of their body weight during the year-long study while those who didn't snack lost more than 11 percent.
“We think this finding may not relate necessarily to the time of day one snacks, but rather to the short interval between breakfast and lunch. Mid-morning snacking therefore might be a reflection of recreational or mindless eating habits rather than eating to satisfy true hunger,” said study author Dr. Anne McTiernan.
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.
“Snacking could be part of a dieter’s toolkit if they’re eating in response to true hunger. Individuals should determine if they experience long intervals – such as more than five hours – between meals. Adding a snack might help people deal better with hunger and ultimately help them to make more sound choices at their next meal.”
The study also revealed that women who reported eating more than two snacks a day had higher fiber intake than those who snacked less frequently, and afternoon nibblers ate more fruits and vegetables compared to women who didn’t snack between lunch and dinner.
The study, which was part of a larger randomized clinical trial designed to test the effects of nutrition and exercise on breast cancer risk, involved 123 overweight-to-obese postmenopausal women, ages 50 to 75. They were randomly assigned to either a diet-alone intervention (goal: 1,200 to 2,000 calories a day, depending on starting weight, and fewer than 30 percent of daily calories from fat), or diet plus exercise (same calorie and fat restrictions plus 45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per day, five days a week). While the women received nutrition counseling, they were not given any specific instructions or recommendations about snacking behavior.
At the end of the study the women were asked to record the time, type, and frequency of meals consumed on a normal day. Percent of calories from fat, fiber, and fruit and vegetable intake were also estimated using a food-frequency questionnaire.
“Many people think that a weight-loss program has to mean always feeling hungry,” McTiernan 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.”
Nationwide surveys indicate that 97 percent of U.S. adults report snacking, and such behavior is consistent across age groups. One study that surveyed a national random sample of more than 1,500 adults found that the most commonly preferred snacks were salty and crunchy items such as potato chips, pretzels, and nuts; baked goods such as cookies and cakes; fruits; and ice cream.
Not all snacks are created equal, however. Foods less conducive to weight loss include empty-calorie items that contribute fat, salt, sugar,and little nutritional value, such as potato chips and sugar-sweetened beverages.
For a woman on a weight-loss diet, a healthy snack should pack a nutritional wallop without breaking the calorie bank. “Since women on a weight-loss program only have a limited number of calories to spend each day, it is important for them to incorporate nutrient-dense foods that are no more than 200 calories per serving,” McTiernan said. “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 noncalorie beverages such as water, coffee, and tea.”

© HealthDay

Study finds that mid-morning snackers lost less weight than those who ate a healthy breakfast and avoided snacking before lunch.
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Tuesday, 29 November 2011 12:39 PM
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