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Snacking has received a bad image over the last few years. There are some misconceptions about snacks and health. Here’s what you need to know.
Myth: Cutting Out Snacks Makes You Lose Weight
You might have heard that if you eat snacks, you’re eating too often during the day. The advice given is to eat less snacks or get rid of them all together.
Cutting out all snacks doesn’t help you lose weight because snacking is not the problem. You might need to eat snacks between meals to keep your energy levels up. This can be especially important if you have a physical labor or high-activity job or an active lifestyle.
Eating the right type of snack is key, though. If you’re trying to lose weight, choose healthy snacks instead of junk food.
Myth: You Should Never Have Treats
Treats are the cookies, cakes, candies, and other desserts you enjoy. These are high in sugar and calories. It’s true that you should limit how much added sugar and sweet treats you eat. Too much sugar can make you gain weight, which can lead to other health problems like heart disease.
Cutting all treats out of your diet doesn’t work, though. This kind of change is too restrictive and too hard to maintain, and you’re more likely to overindulge. It could also lead to harmful dieting practices.
Instead, focus on eating more healthy snacks than treats, but allow yourself to eat treats once in a while.
Myth: You Shouldn’t Snack Before Bed
Some studies show that eating large meals or most of your daily calories late at night might raise your risk for obesity and other metabolic problems. This research was done with people who have irregular sleep patterns, night eating syndrome, or are night shift workers. This research supported old advice that you shouldn’t eat before bed or past certain times.
Newer research shows this isn’t true for small meals. Recent studies show that eating small, nutrient-dense snacks of less than 200 calories at night has no effect on weight.