Eating little and often is thought by many to be the key to long-term weight loss. But now research from the US says women dieters who grab a snack between breakfast and lunch lose less weight compared to those who abstain from a mid-morning snack.
The trial involved more than 120 older women, aged 50 to 75 years old. Mid-morning snackers lost an average of 7% of their total body weight over a year, while those who ate a healthy breakfast but did not snack before lunch lost more than 11% of their body weight.
“We think this finding may not relate necessarily to the time of day one snacks, but rather to the short interval between breakfast and lunch. Mid-morning snacking therefore might be a reflection of recreational or mindless eating habits rather than eating to satisfy true hunger,” said Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Sciences Division and director of its Prevention Center.
However the team said healthy snacks do have their place in successful dieting. Good snacks for weight loss are proteins such as low-fat yogurt, string cheese, or a small handful of nuts; non-starchy vegetables; fresh fruits; whole-grain crackers; and non-calorie beverages such as water, coffee and tea.