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Obesity has become increasingly prevalent throughout the world and Spain is no exception. In fact, an alarming study by the Hospital del Mar Institute for Medical Research (IMIM) projects that by 2030, 80% of men and 55% of women will be overweight or obese.In 2015, the Aladino study found that approximately 23% of the Spanish childrens population were overweight and 18% were obese. Startling figures. 

This has generated concern from the majority of the population who are looking to improve their quality of life. However, this concern often turns into a fear or even obsession of maintaining a healthy sufficient diet in order to avoid becoming just another statistic, thus generating a series of beliefs and myths on how to eat properly. One of the most controversial topics regarding this is, snacking. Many experts started to recommend including snacks between meals so that people ate up to a total of 5 times a day

What’s The Most Effective Way To Maintain Our Weight?

According to several investigations, including the scientific study by ANIBES 

(Anthropometry, Intake and Energy Balance in Spain), they recommend paying attention to the time of day that we eat our food. There is an increased risk of being overweight and/or obese associated with not having an organized eating schedule (skipping meals due to engagements, random snacking on high caloric foods etc.). 

This is where the eternal debate about snacking begins. Many people associate eating a snack with increasing their caloric intake in a day, but it doesn’t have to be this way. The real problem, in my view, is that it’s become an “automatic” and unconscious habit most of the time. We started to include snacks into our diets without thinking if we really need one, or without being aware of what kind of snack we’re eating and when. 

It’s pointless to organize our daily routines and learn about when our body is really hungry, if later we’re just going to bite into an over-processed sugary snack, which as we know are just empty calories. Also, this type of food rapidly increases blood sugar levels, triggering the pancreas to produce an impressive amount of insulin in order to avoid hyperglycemia.

When you activate this process it’s key to remember that what goes up must come down! When there is an overproduction of insulin this causes glucose levels to drop too low. Which in turn activates another mechanism that causes sugar levels to rise again: eating more of this food and thus begins the vicious cycle. That’s why it’s so hard not to eat the whole chocolate bar. 

If You Snack, Snack Well! Low-Energy Intake and Rich In Protein

The composition and number of snacks needed is not the same for a person who is looking to lose weight, as for a child, an athlete, or a person who is looking to increase their muscle mass.It’s important, if we are learning to know our body, that we seek professional advice to guide us on the options that best suit our needs.

Meaning, if you see that your body needs something extra in the middle of the afternoon, either because you are hungry or because you’ve worked out, think about which food is healthier.You’re not going to solve anything by eating an over-processed snack, but eating a piece of fruit with a nut cream, or sugar-free granola bar will revitalize you.

It would be useless to plan out your meals like a chef and try to schedule them at a precise time each day if you’re not able to see and evaluate your entire day. Remember that each of our bodies is it’s own world and they all have different needs depending on age, physical activity, the type of work we have etc… Don’t forget about those unpredictable moments as well, like a special event where you maybe ate more than you should have and so on. Bottom line, balance is key . There will be days when you have eaten less or have exercised more, and you need to snack and you’ll need to adjust accordingly. 

At the end of the day, our body knows best and can tell us if that planned snack is really necessary or not. Let’s learn to listen to it! Finally, let’s not forget that we are integral beings, and as such, we can’t expect that by changing one single element, we’ll get the desired results we’re looking for. We create a healthy environment by adding in other habits such as physical activity, increasing how much fruit and veggies we eat and by reducing the amount of sugar and other unhealthy products we consume. 


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