A quarter of people negate the benefits of healthy meals by snacking between meals

A quarter of the population negates the benefits of healthy meals with unhealthy snacks, increasing the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease

You think you’re eating healthy because you eat chicken breasts and salad, but your Doritos and candy bars between meals tell a different story. This is what the researchers found out Half of participants do not equate the healthiness of their meals with that of their snacks and vice versa. This difference negatively impacts health metrics such as blood sugar and fat levels, and addressing it could be a simple nutritional strategy to improve health. The conclusions were published today in the journal European Journal of Nutrition by researchers from the Faculty of Life and Population Sciences and ZOE, detail the snacking habits of 854 people from the ZOE PREDICT study.

In the words of Dr. Sarah Berry, from King’s College London and senior scientist at ZOE, said: “Given that 95% of us eat snacks and almost a quarter of our calories come from snacks, it makes sense to replace unhealthy snacks such as biscuits, crisps and cakes with healthy snacks such as z Because fruits and nuts are a really easy way to improve your health.

The analysis revealed that the United Kingdom is a nation snacker, 24% of our daily energy intake comes from snacks such as granola bars, pastries and fruit. The average daily intake of Snacks for people who eat between meals – 95% of the cohort – it was 2.28 Snacks per day, with 47% of people consuming two snacks per day and 29% of people consuming more than two.

Contrary to popular belief, the analysis showed that snacking between meals is not harmful to your health, as long as the snacks are healthy. People who frequently ate high-quality snacks like nuts and fresh fruit were more likely to be at a healthy weight than those who didn’t snack at all or ate unhealthy foods. The analysis also showed that high-quality snacks can also improve metabolic health and reduce hunger.

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However, a quarter (26%) of participants reported eating healthy main meals and low-quality snacks such as highly processed foods and sugary treats, which were linked to poorer health indicators and feelings of hunger. Unhealthy snacks were linked to higher BMI, higher visceral fat mass and higher postprandial triglyceride concentrations – the time after eating a meal – all of which were linked to metabolic diseases such as stroke, cardiovascular disease and obesity.

The most commonly consumed snacks were: cookies, fruit, nuts and seeds, cheese and butter, cakes and pies, and granola or granola bars. The largest contributors to calorie intake were cakes and pies (14%), breakfast cereals (13%), ice cream and frozen dairy desserts (12%), donuts and pastries (12%), sweets (11%) and cookies and brownies (11%). , nuts and seeds (11%).

The timing of snacking between meals can also be crucial for health, as analyzes showed that snacking between meals after 9 p.m. was linked to worse blood counts compared to other hours. Snack eaters at this time tended to consume high-calorie foods high in fat and sugar.

Dr. Kate Bermingham, from King’s College London and senior scientist at ZOE, said: “This study contributes to the existing literature that food quality is the key determinant of positive dietary health outcomes.” “A balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, proteins and legumes is the best way to improve health.”


Snack quality and snack timing are associated with cardiometabolic blood markers: the ZOE PREDICT study

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