Indulging in snacks between meals is a common habit for many, but it’s essential to be mindful of the potential impact on your health. According to a study presented at NUTRITION 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, late-night snacking and opting for highly processed foods may have negative effects on your well-being.
The study, which involved over 1,000 participants, aimed to understand how snacking habits affect health and whether the quality of snack foods plays a role.
The findings emphasized that the quality of snacks is more crucial than the quantity or frequency of snacking. Opting for high-quality snacks, which provide significant nutrients relative to their calorie content, appears to be beneficial for health. On the other hand, snacking on highly processed foods may not be as advantageous.
Timing also emerged as a significant factor. Late-night snacking was associated with unfavorable health outcomes, as it extended eating windows and reduced the overnight fasting period. This had implications for blood glucose and lipid levels, key indicators of cardiometabolic health.
Surprisingly, despite snacking accounting for 20-25 per cent of energy intake, little research had previously focused on this dietary habit.
The study’s results highlighted snacking as an independent and modifiable dietary feature that could be targeted to improve health. So, next time you feel the urge to snack, consider reaching for healthier options and being mindful of the timing to support your well-being.
What are snacks?
Snacks are small, quick bites of food consumed between regular meals. They are popular for providing a convenient and satisfying way to curb hunger and boost energy throughout the day. Snacks can come in various forms, ranging from healthy options like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and yogurt to less nutritious choices such as chips, candies, and sugary drinks.