Does Snacking Make You Gain Weight? Should You Eat 3 Regular Meals Instead?

We have all heard the advice to eat smaller portions and space them out throughout the day. Although this sounds nice in theory, it actually is worse than eating three regular meals. Here are the three main reasons:

  • Snacking decreases insulin sensitivity. In simple terms, it makes it more difficult for your muscles and organs to use glucose, making your body store it as fat.
  • Paradoxically, it makes you hungrier. Having a little 150-200 calorie snack every hour will leave you in a state of constant cravings for sugar and sweets. You can never get enough. Your body is adapted to prevent you from starving, so it instinctively wants you to eat food that’s around you. It’s only after you have a regular meal that you feel full and no longer can think about food.
  • It puts stress on your body and causes a constant stream of insulin spikes and lows, which ultimately makes you gain fat and feel sluggish. It also makes you feel stress, because you are constantly focusing on restricting your eating with every meal you have, instead of eating until you are full.

Now don’t get me wrong – eating healthy snacks all day is definitely better than eating three large fast-food meals. However, you can have the best of both worlds – try eating three to four decent-sized meals and see how you feel and whether or not your food cravings decrease.

But I will feel hungry between meals?

I have given this advice to many people and they all think this won’t work until they try it. Most people who are constantly snacking think they will feel hungry and uncomfortable when they have to not eat for several hours after their ‘regular meal’. However, most find that the opposite is the case – once you have a satiating meal, you feel full – something you usually never experience while snacking.
Try to eat meals that are high in protein and are not carbohydrate-heavy. Eating cereals and bread toasts without including some lean protein in the mix will again leave you feeling hungry, as the carbohydrates are digested extremely fast in the absence of adequate protein content, leading to a huge insulin spike and ultimately – even lower levels of blood sugar. Fortunately, most ‘main’ dishes you can order at a restaurant or cook at home already take this into account and contain adequate levels of protein!
Posted by Angelina on March 06 2014
Stay healthy,