Mums and Dads everywhere have a stock-standard response when kids claim hunger between meals: “There’s fruit in the bowl.” This is great advice for growing kids, especially when what they really want is chips, biscuits, lollies and the like, but is it great advice to apply to those wanting to lose weight?
One of the main challenges for those losing weight is to get maximum nutrition from minimal calories.
We certainly don’t advocate calorie-counting, but snacks that are low in protein and/or fat are usually just supplying their calories via sugar.
Sugar, or carbohydrates in general, trigger the body to release insulin, a hormone that helps transport sugar into storage but, at the same time, blocks the release of fat. If weight loss is a goal, then trapping fat in storage will be counter-productive.
A lovely juicy apple is a wonderful snack, but if you are struggling to achieve your desired weight, it’s time to look for an alternative.
So, what do I look for?
The ideal snack provides the right amount of protein along with some carbohydrate for your body, and it should taste great. After all, who wants to eat any food that tastes awful?
Protein is responsible for growth and repair, and it helps to maintain muscle while losing weight. Muscle is metabolically active, so adequate protein helps to prevent your metabolism from slowing down during and after losing weight.
Protein helps keep you feeling satisfied between meals, so you end up eating less. It also slows down the digestion of carbohydrates, which lowers the influx of insulin and allows fat to be released from the fat cells.
In short, snacks containing adequate (not high) protein makes it easier to lose weight and easier to keep it off. If the snack is also low in sugar (or carbs or other sweeteners), all the better.
Ultimately, the right snacks that compliment your eating plan can make the difference between losing or not losing weight.