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Skip the Snack, Lose Weight Faster!

A midmorning snack might be slowing your weight loss journey down. A new study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center brought some surprising findings to light.

The study split 123 overweight or obese women aged 50–75 into two groups. Both groups were put on low-calorie diets, and one group incorporated an exercise plan into their program. Snacking wasn’t regulated across the groups, but after a year, the study participants were asked to report on their eating habits, including both what and when they ate.

As it turned out, women in both groups who reported eating a snack of some sort in the midmorning lost 7% of their total body weight, but those who didn’t eat between breakfast and lunch lost 11%.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Anne McTiernan, attributes this difference to possible “mindless eating,” that is, eating out of habit, not hunger. She does stress that snacking can be beneficial to the dieter, but not as a means of recreation.

We’ve put together a few takeaway points from this article; think of them as snacking guidelines!

  • When to snack. If you have a gap of five hours or more between meals, a little pick-me-up might help you now and later. Eating some low-fat yogurt, an apple, or a handful of nuts can tide you over until the next meal, give your afternoon a nutritious boost, and keep you from being so hungry that you eat too much at dinner.
  • Why to snack. You’re hungry. If you’re not hungry, the extra food just isn’t worth it.
  • Are you just thirsty? Test yourself with a water bottle. When you’re hungry between meals, drink a bottle of cold water and see if you’re satisfied afterward. The best snack of all might be calorie-free!

What do you do when the midmorning munchies hit? Leave us a comment and let us know!