If I stop snacking, will I lose weight? It’s a question many dieters ask themselves sooner or later. Although they know cutting out their snacks will ensure they’ll get less calories per day, they fear losing these additional treats may leave them feeling deprived.
The problem is, even healthy snacks like apples and oranges provide our bodies with extra calories. If you are serious about losing weight, any additional calories can work against you. It’s easy to see the logic in this but some people say stopping snacking may encourage them to eat larger portions during meals and this may cause them to gain weight.
However, if you are already taking steps to eat smaller portions there is nothing forcing you to eat more at mealtimes to compensate for a lack of snacks.
The unfortunate thing is, people who do eat snacks often don’t even take the time to enjoy them. They just eat them on the go. This being the case, how could their snacking be something this miss sufficiently for them to put on weight?
Eat Right, Don’t Snack
Many people who successfully lose weight do so by eating three well-balanced meals per day. A lot of people who never gain weight in the first place do the same. We don’t need to bombard our bodies with extra calories by snacking between meals.
However, there’s a lot to be said for sitting at the table and eating your meal in the traditional way. This gives you time to concentrate on your food, making it more of a sensory experience.
These days, far too many people eat their meals from the couch while watching TV or fiddling with their mobile phones. The food on their plates is not their main focus.
Making mealtimes something to look forward to and enjoy can be a good way to alleviate the need for snacking. When you focus on your food you are also more likely to notice if your stomach starts to feel full. If it does, it’s time to stop eating. It’s also a good time to think about revising your portion sizes next time around.
It’s also good to have your three meals at set times of day. It provides a routine. When you stop snacking it can become part of your new routine too and you will be less likely to put on weight.
Try to eat off a smaller plate as well. Big plates beg to be filled and when you see too much plate around your food it can make you feel deprived.
Snacking Can Cause Mindless Eating
One of the worst things about snacking is it can cause the kind of mindless eating that may make you to put on weight. This type of eating is also sometimes known as grazing. Cows do it all day. Do you really want to fatten yourself up? If you do making grazing a habit is the right way to go.
Choosing and sticking to just three eating slots per day is the best way to avoid eating on autopilot and stacking on extra pounds when you really want to be burning fat. Make it a golden rule: no snacks between meals. It may be hard at the start but you will soon adjust to this new, healthier routine.
Going back and forth to the fridge on a willy-nilly basis is bad practice. So is grabbing any sort of food on the go. Having set times to eat and sticking to them is the best way to stop snacking without worrying you will put on weight. Being mindful of what you eat and choosing low-calorie healthy meal options is one of the best ways to stay on top of your diet and lose weight.
A Look at the Science
Grazing throughout the day instead of eating three good meals is not only bad for your waistline, it may also damage your health.
The results of a study conducted in the Netherlands suggests eating randomly throughout the day may be more damaging than eating three big meals per day.
According to the data, eating frequently may increase waist size and cholesterol in the liver but increasing meal size does not. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5046189/)
Snacking may also elevate blood sugar and insulin levels. Our bodies need time to manage blood sugar and insulin. When we constantly top up our glucose levels by snacking the body does not have time to use the energy it provides. It will store it as fat instead.
Avoiding snacking helps our bodies to use up glucose. When the glucose is gone it has to begin burning fat. When we are dieting to lose weight, that’s what we want.
The Snack Industry Doesn’t Want You to Stop
The snack industry was worth more than $374 Billion in 2014. That means a lot of people are buying and eating a lot of snacks and it’s not surprising. TV advertisements are constantly trying to encourage us to eat snacks. Most of the snacks are loaded with fats and sugar.
Snacks generate manufacturers a lot of money but we are paying the price in more ways than one. It’s not just the cost of these products, it’s the cost to our health as well.
Of course, supermarkets and other shops that sell snacks get their share of this lucrative pie. Have you ever notices how there are always plenty of snacks at hand near the checkouts? The retailers put them there to tempt you into making a spontaneous buy. The best thing to do is to try and avoid looking at them and concentrate on buying only the things you are visiting the shop for.
Snacking and Metabolism
Some people say eating fewer times per day slows down metabolism. That’s ridiculous. Ancient man never got fat on snacks, they didn’t have empty carbs. In fact, our ancestors were often lucky if they could find enough food to eat once or twice a day. If you stop snacking it will not damage your metabolism and cause you to put on weight.
The idea that eating less meals per day is bad for the metabolism is a ridiculous idea that’s been disproved by science again and again.
One study was carried out at the University of Ottawa. After taking into account various factors, including ghrelin levels and gut peptides, the researchers concluded increasing meal frequency does not promote greater body mass. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19943985)
Giving your body ample time between feeds is the best way to encourage the energy shortage necessary to make you burn fat. Snacking works against this and is more likely to make you put on weight than to lose it. So don’t be afraid to stop. It won’t damage your metabolism. Three meals a day will be enough and the end results will more than make up for any early teething problems you may face.
The Bottom Line
The next time you ask yourself the question “If I Stop Snacking Will I Put On Weight?” try and think about your reasons for posing the question. Are you really worried that cutting out snacks will damage your metabolism, make you overeat at mealtimes, or cause you to gain weight in another way? Or are you acutally looking for an excuse to justify your present love of snacks?
Be honest with yourself.
There is no evidence to suggest snacking is beneficial for weight loss. People gain weight when they consume too many calories per day. This causes them to store the unneeded energy as fat. Eating a diet that provides too many calories also makes it impossible to lose weight.
The average man only needs to eat around 2,500 calories per day. If he gets more he will gain weight. If he gets less, he will lose it. The average woman only needs 2,000 calories per day. Again, she will need to eat less calories than she needs if she wants to lose weight.
Snacks provide extra calories. If you are trying to lose weight they will always be calories you do not need. The sensible thing to do is stop making excuses and cut out the snacks. Just eat three healthy, well-balanced (low-calorie) meals per day instead.