Here’s some welcome news on snacking that could help many with weight loss. A new study appearing in the journal Food, Quality and Preference finds that eating a smaller portion of chocolate, or some other delicious (but forbidden) snack food will be just as satisfying to you as a larger portion.
The work included over 100 adults who were given either small and large servings of the same snack. The large snacks equaled 100g of chocolate, 200g of apple pie or 80g of potato chips, equal to 1370 calories in total; the smaller snack was 10g or chocolate, 40g of apple pie or 10g or potato chips for a total of 195 calories. Those who ate the larger serving took in 77% more calories than those who ate the smaller one and yet they were no more satisfied. In fact, both groups reported a far lower craving for snacks 15 minutes after eating.
Study co-author Brian Wansink, a professor of economics at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, believes the research supports the idea that eating for pleasure is driven more by the availability of foods rather than the food already consumed. Portion size is a key element here. Just a bit of a snack seems to satisfy, rather than magnify, feelings of hunger and craving for snacks.
This has important implications if you’re trying to lose weight.
It appears the secret of snacking and weight control is to take a bite, enjoy it thoroughly and then put it aside and wait. After 15 minutes all you’ll remember is that you had a delicious snack, but you won’t have taken in the full measure of the calories for that indulgence.
Your doctor will tell you that to keep your weight in the healthy range you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. The more active you are, the more calories will naturally be burned, and this is one way to offset the calories you’re taking in each day. The number of calories a person needs depends on…
- Level of physical activity
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Smaller Portions Still Satisfying Continued…
Once you know how many calories you should be taking in, a food diary is a smart way to keep track of just what you’re eating. A small notebook, your cell phone or computer are all there to use for this purpose. Each entry should include when you ate, what you ate, how much, where you were and why. Over a week or so, you should start to see patterns, and be able to make changes to address them. For example, if you see that late afternoon is the time you are at your weakest and tend to snack, have something healthy on hand, ready to eat, so you’re not tempted to go for junk food.
You might also try to hold off the urge for an unhealthy snack by first acknowledging the craving and promising to indulge only after…
- Taking a walk outside to get some fresh air, on your own or with a family member/coworker.
- Reading a book, magazine, online material… something that’s absorbing and engaging.
- Doing something with your hands, knit, crochet, play checkers or even solitaire.
- Drinking a glass or water, or herbal tea (without sugar) beforehand.
To your good health,