Is Snacking Making You Fat?

A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine finds that the more we snack, the heavier we are, due to poor nutrition choices that are negatively affecting our rapidly rising blood sugar levels. Sadly, it gets even worse; Type 2 diabetes is on the rise and is progressing even faster in kids than in adults.

I'm hoping you're asking yourself, "Why? What are we doing that's causing this epidemic?"

The truth is, a lot of diseases that you and I suffer from are preventable, and all that's required is for us to decide to make better, healthier choices. That's not always easy to do, especially when media and advertising dollars are at stake.

I'm also a recovering food addict (a.k.a. chronic snacker), so I get it, and I'm not judging. But until we face facts and listen to what our bodies are telling us that it really needs versus wants, we won't be able to lose weight or become healthier. And no amount of exercise can repair the damage of an unhealthy diet.

So, what are we to do? Prevention is the cure! We need to unlearn bad habits and learn new, healthier ones if we are serious about improving our health. That needs to start with replacing carb-filled, high-fat breakfasts with a cleaner, better-for-your-body metabolic boosting one instead. I'm hoping by now, you've learned how critical that first step is.

Next ... snack less!

Snacking is a widely accepted bad habit/pastime. Truthfully, most of us are not really hungry when we snack. We have trained our bodies to want food (and yes, of course, we like to eat), but since we stopped growing (age 18ish) we do not need the extra calories that snacks supply. Not to mention, most are ultra-processed junk food.

I had to learn that hunger wouldn't kill me. I had to learn to change the way I thought about food and the way I was feeding my family. Since I've lost 40 pounds (and I've been able to keep it off), I've realized that everything I ever learned about weight loss is all wrong. That’s why America's waistlines are growing larger every day.

Look at it this way ... if a car is already full of gas, do you continue to fill it up? Nope! Despite the compulsive urge eat that is driven by stress and anxiety, you don't need more calories, especially if you have weight to lose or fat to be burned off. That excess body fat signifies that your storage tank is full, so no more food is really needed. Please don't shoot the messenger, but I've got to be honest, so you too can lose weight and keep it off.

What the French Know that Keeps Them Slim:

    • French people, including young kids, don’t snack as regularly as Americans.
    • French kids, even very young ones, snack only once a day — in the late afternoon.
    • It’s not that French children have different metabolisms than we do that allow them to go more than two hours without eating, or to get through social gatherings without food. They have better food hygiene and habits.
    • The French have a different cultural idea about food, eating, and most importantly, how they view hunger.

We Americans fear hunger and think we will die or that our metabolism will slow down. Most of us prefer to eat something unhealthy rather than wait to eat because we have grown so accustomed to eating whenever we want. When the French are hungry, they simply remind themselves that they’ll be able to eat well at the next meal. They know they will be okay and hunger won't kill them.

Americans do everything they can to prevent hunger. The French, as well as other countries, cultivate hunger and even embrace it. From a health perspective, hunger between meals is a good thing. It produces healthier eaters, teaches self-control, and produces discipline around eating, especially in-between meals. It improves self-esteem when you empower yourself to say, "No!!!!!"

Sadly, we all go to great lengths to make sure that we are never hungry, which is the wrong messages around food and hunger. The truth is ... the more we snack, the worse we tend to eat.

An important study (that applies to adults as well) by Carmen Piernas and Barry M. Popkin at the University of North Carolina shows that:

    • Children average nearly three snacks per day.
    • 27 percent of their daily calories come from snacks.
    • Today’s children typically take in 168 more calories from snacks than they did in 1977. (Does that mean kids are hungrier — 168 calories hungrier — at snack time than they used to be?) I doubt it. Kids are less active than ever before in history.
    • Contrary to popular wisdom, kids don’t compensate for snacking by eating smaller meals. Kids two to six years old have added 182 calories per day to their diet since 1977, with no corresponding increase in physical activity.
    • Most snack calories come from desserts and sweetened beverages, but salty snacks — i.e., potato chips, tortilla chips, pretzels — and candy are the fastest growing category of snack consumption.

What are we teaching our kids? Piernas and Popkin wonder this too. They ask: “Is the physiological basis for eating becoming dysregulated, as our children are moving towards constant eating?” I have witnessed this myself and would safely say we are and it's time to retrain ourselves.

Many people claim the healthiest way to eat is to eat often. But it's not working for us, so we need to take a different approach. You might argue that there’s plenty of research that shows that frequently eating throughout the day reduces the chances of becoming overweight and increases the risk of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, among many more. Unfortunately, there’s also plenty of research that counters this. What's important to know is that that research is often funded by the snack companies who stand to make money off that research.

And while the USDA continues to recommend two meals a day for preschoolers, the American Academy of Pediatrics simply advises parents to “limit snacking during sedentary behavior or in response to boredom and particularly restrict the use of sweet/sweetened beverages as snacks (e.g., juice, soda, sports drinks).”

I'm suggesting that we declare a national snack emergency to end obesity, and especially childhood obesity. But let’s not rely on health care programs like doctors or pharmaceutical drugs to correct health issues we have control over. Let's take responsibility for ourselves and our children by simply making one better, healthier decision at a time. We can all do that!

Let’s change the way we think and teach our children how to eat and set good examples for them by eating healthier ourselves. We can save tons of money and the best part ... we will all feel better so we can live the life God meant for us to live.

Enough ranting from me ... but this needs to be addressed before we can really snack better.

According to a report, 48 percent replace meals with snacks and say they are always nibbling. Snacking contributes to a higher intake of calories, which in turn leads to weight gain, imbalances, and high blood sugar levels. Over the last 30 years, snacking has doubled. Children are snacking three times a day, sadly from non-nutritious food groups such as carbs and sugars.

Snacks provide ¼ of our daily calories, and sadly, most of those from excess sugar, fat, and processed carbohydrates versus the nutrients that our bodies need such as protein and fiber.

The more you snack, the more weight you’re likely to gain because the types of foods and beverages we consume are not usually the most nutritious.

So what do we do when our hunger gets out of control? Snack smarter by filling up on whey protein. It's the best whey to fill up! Fill up on the kinds of food that turn the hunger switch off versus stimulating it more. Most of us think protein drinks are great for building muscle, but the right protein drink can also help you kill cravings. Research in Nutrition Science backs this up. After consuming a complete whey protein drink, people reported feeling fuller and consumed fewer calories all day than those who were drinking fruit smoothies and juices, even if they added whey. Whey protein (vegan and milk protein sources won't do this) balance blood sugar levels that signal hunger. LynFit Whey Protein offers the exact amount of high-quality protein that your body needs.

LynFit Whey Protein offers the exact amount of high-quality protein that your body needs. It has 24 grams of pure, non-GMO, microfiltered whey that blocks and blunts cortisol (stress hormones) from rising, that makes you crave.

Did you know that 94 percent of Americans snack at least once daily?.

There is good news for you if you’re a snacker.

Snacking can deliver benefits if you snack right.

    • Balance blood sugar levels, which help to control hunger and cravings
    • Improve focus and concentration
    • Provide natural energy
    • Restore gut health
    • Helps reduce calories to encourage weight loss
    • Fills you up without filling you out

Aim for protein and fiber. They can taste delicious if you have the right ingredients and tools on hand. Using a Complete Whey Protein that tastes delicious can save you time and money and encourage cravings for the right kind of foods instead of the wrong ones.

Nourishing the body in the process is the best way to help turn off the weight gain switch and prevent fat storage. If you use these three simple alternatives, you'll also turn on the weight loss switch and tame the hunger beast. You'll not only look better, but you'll also feel better, with energy to live your life and focus to get you through those complicated and stressful days.

Crunchy equals stressed, but crunching on chips will only make it worse due to the lack of nutrients. Chew and crunch on this instead:

Graham Cracker Lean Bar: High protein, gluten, and 99 percent dairy free fiber from healthy prebiotic sources, so you feel fuller longer. Enjoy with a cup of hot tea or Skinny Hot Chocolate (next tip below). The fiber source in these bars helps to keep you feeling fuller longer, support a healthy weight, balance blood sugar levels, and help lower cholesterol, all while improving gut and digestive health.

Chocolate cravings equal a mood boost. Indulge on chocolate that boosts mood without the added sugars and fats.

Try Skinny Hot Chocolate made with ½ - ¾ cups water and one (1) scoop of pure, lean, non-GMO Chocolate Whey Protein. Instead of slowing your metabolism, you'll boost it and block cortisol (stress levels) from rising, making it easier to power through your day.

This is a great thing to grab when your cravings kick in. Making this with whey versus milk kills cravings and boosts metabolism. It won't stop the process the way gourmet coffee drinks or using milk can. The sugar contained in them can cause intense cravings.

Not a chocolate fan? Try Complete Protein Vanilla or Strawberry. They are both delicious, warm or cold. (Note: Hot water and well water will make the whey curdle so use bottled water and warm, not hot.) 

Grab a Lean Bar! If you buy a protein bar off the shelf you'll soon see how effective the Lean Bars are at satisfying hunger, plus, they also lower blood sugar levels. Just one small slip eating a cereal bar can stop your weight loss due to the blood sugar spikes they cause. 

One of my favorite lunches ever is both ... Slimming Hot Chocolate and a Lean Bar. On the satisfaction meter, it's a 180 percent! I plan on it as a travel lunch or lunch on-the-go. I find that when I have both a Lean Bar and Hot Chocolate I can power through my day, and I'm not looking for food.

Comfort food. You know, the kind you eat with a spoon. This tells that you had a stressful day and there is no better way to soothe yourself than a warm bowl of soup. Ramen noodles are one of the most popular soups consumed as a snack, but it delivers more processed carbs and sodium than an oversized meal, despite the fact that it's not very filling.

Try this Zoodle Soup instead.  It delivers a mere 50-60 calories and almost no carbs but delivers a full serving of veggies that won't spike blood sugar levels. It's so simple you can make this at work using the water cooler, if it has a warm water feature, or cook it quickly in the microwave for one (1) minute or so.

Simply add two (2) cups of hot water over one (1) cup of veggie or zucchini noodles. Add a dash of your favorite spice and enjoy! (We like a dash of hot sauce in my house.)

This works when you need a quick dinner too. Add two (2) egg whites to the hot broth and VIOLA, you've got a meal. Or keep it plant-based and have a protein pancake after for a lean dessert without adding extra calories.

You can also add some shrimp or pulled chicken breast for a delicious, fast, and easy meal.

Losing weight and keeping it off doesn't mean you have to struggle or suffer; you just need the right tools to help get you through the tough parts. Make sure you always have a stash of the right things available like Complete Protein Shakes and Lean Bars, so you never run out.

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