To snack or not to snack? That is the question… and you’re probably thinking “Well, I already know the answer to this, everybody knows that snacking speeds up the metabolism.”
So to lose weight, we need to eat more..? Wait, that doesn’t seem right!
Many of us believe/have been conditioned to think that snacking every few hours increases metabolism. However, studies have shown that eating frequency has little or no effect on metabolism.
On an evolutionary scale, we haven’t been snacking for long. In fact, we didn’t start snacking until the 80’s! – That’s when all these snack foods started kicking off. Manufacturers realised that they probably couldn’t get people to eat more food in their 3 meals a day, so they created new snacking foods and invented other eating opportunities by advertising that we needed snacks.
Snacking is just not a traditional food practice. Traditional cultures didn’t graze all day long, instead they honoured mealtime as a community gathering. Meals were enjoyed with the tribe, not alone. Not only that, the meal was showered with blessings and gratitude! A little different to how we eat in the west now- sometimes on the go, walking, in the car, watching TV, between meals at school or work, we can eat almost anywhere, doing almost anything now and this is very new to humans.
“But what about stabilising blood sugar levels?” You say. Many of us have also been told that it’s necessary to eat frequently to maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day, but this isn’t always the case.
In fact, a 2014 study in people with type 2 diabetes found that eating only two large meals per day resulted in lower fasting blood sugar levels, better insulin sensitivity and greater weight loss than eating six times per day.
Let’s get a bit more sciencey… Our bodies release insulin (a storage hormone) right before and during eating. So, when we’re snacking a lot, our pancreas is being stimulated and insulin levels go up- this means that we’re basically always in ‘storage mode’. If insulin levels are elevated, then we are going to be storing it either in our cells to be used right away for energy OR that energy might go to the liver to be stored and if the liver is full, then it goes into our fat to be stored. And guess when our bodies access that fat or even our liver storage? When we’re sleeping!
So basically, to reduce weight we need to reduce insulin levels by eating less often. If we cut out all that grazing and snacking between meals and after dinner, by default, we lower our insulin levels. Let’s look at it this way…if you eat dinner at 7pm and then have breakfast at 7am, that’s a 12 hour fast already and that’s a long time when your insulin levels are lower, which in turn, allows your bod to access and burn your fat storage. Woohoo!
OK, challenge for this week is to cut down or cut out snacks as much as you can.
This may be tricky at first and it will take your bod a little while to get used to it but if you’re having trouble, need support or have any other questions on this, I’m here for you and only a message away!
I’d love to hear how you’re going with this anyway and I will dive deeper into this subject next week.