For Better Health, Be a Choosy Snacker
If you take your weight and health seriously, it's worth the effort to plan ahead for better choices
When hunger strikes, chances are you're never far from a snack. And chances are even better that it's not going to be something that's good for you. A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that the widespread availability of energy--dense (high calorie) snack foods--like candy bars, soda, and chips--might contribute to the obesity epidemic by providing people with high-profile placement of these foods. So, if you take your weight and health seriously, it's worth the effort to plan ahead for better choices.
What's the harm?
Retail stores that aren't designated as food establishments are only permitted to sell foods that are not "potentially hazardous," meaning that they aren't likely to cause food poisoning due to their prepackaged nature. The study's authors point out that obesity-related illnesses are estimated to be responsible for 20 times more deaths each year than those caused by food-borne illnesses, calling into question the definition of "potentially hazardous."
When you get the urge
Studies have shown that snacking between meals leads to higher total calorie intake. So if you need something to tide you over until the next meal, try these tips.
(Am J Public Health 2009;doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.178681)
Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Rhode Island and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. She cofounded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI, and now sees patients in East Greenwich and Wakefield. Inspired by her passion for healthful eating and her own young daughters, Dr. Beauchamp is currently writing a book about optimizing children's health through better nutrition.