An apple or a candy bar? Soda or water? A piece of cake or a protein bar? Cookies or bananas? Potato chips or celery sticks?
All of the above are choices. Choices we make every day. Oftentimes, choices we don’t think about. And we should.
Snacks define your diet whether you like them to or not. Snacks are often the difference between being at a healthy weight or being overweight. At the end of the day, all that matters is caloric count: did you take in enough, eat too much, or not enough? Your body answers this question every day for you with how much you weigh.
In Part 1 of our series of how important are snacks, we’ll examine the reasons behind our snacking and in part 2, we’ll examine the science behind snacking and tips for healthy snack eating.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE SNACKS?
Most of us eat snacks throughout the day. Very rarely nowadays do we eat just three meals a day. In fact, snacking has earned the title “the fourth meal” since research has shown we get nearly one fourth of our calories from snacking. Since the late 1970s, daily calorie intake has increased among men and women with the majority of additional calories consumed between meals.
As you can see, our snack choices are a significant part of our diet. This affects our overall body weight and other health factors. Hunger is controlled by a hormone called ghrelin, which is secreted by the stomach when it’s empty. Ghrelin also triggers the hypothalamus in the brain to tell you it’s time to eat. Mitigating this hormone is the key to reducing cravings and not overeating.
WHY DO WE SNACK?
People give different reasons for snacking.
- It’s healthy. Some people adhere to studies that say it’s better to graze all day than to eat three meals a day.
- To satisfy cravings. Most people crave sweet or salty foods.
- To prevent or relieve hunger. The average time for your stomach to empty varies but is usually between 2-3 hours and 4-5 hours for meat products. Your stomach “growls” when it’s empty to signal your brain to eat again.
- To boost nutrient intakes. Protein shakes and Dr. Jen’s Ultimate all-natural Protein Bars are a great way to get added protein to your diet.
- Weight control. Snacks can prevent binge eating, satiating hunger throughout the day instead of being hungry.
- Increase metabolic rates. Eating food can increase your metabolism for a few hours, which is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). This is caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb, and process the nutrients in your meal. Protein causes the largest percentage increase in TEF, so grab one of Dr. Jen’s all-natural protein snack bars today!
- To pass the time. Boredom is a common reason for snacking, and one of the contributors to obesity. Often people have no idea how much they actually consume in calories when they snack.
- Emotional eating. Many people use food to settle their emotions as the digestion process releases endorphins and naturally calms you as you digest.
- To replace meals. Many people snack instead of eating full meals.
Snacking is a big part of our lives. When we get together with friends or family, food is often involved. And if it’s a long get-together, snacking throughout the day is the norm. Dr. Jen’s all-natural Protein Bars wants you to live your best life ever. You can’t lead your best life if you’re struggling with your weight or your blood sugars are on a roller-coaster all day long. Dr. Jen’s mission is to create tasty, healthy snacks for those with eating restrictions. Dr Jen’s all-natural Protein Bars are gluten-free, uses no preservatives or fillers, are non-gmo, and packed with superfoods.. Allergen-free and low in sugar, Dr. Jen’s all-natural protein bars are the perfect, healthy snack for your active lifestyle. Order yours today!