Before You Eat a Big Snack, Read This

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Snacking in small portions is just as satisfying.Any dieter obsessed with weight loss knows that snacking can be your downfall. All the effort in reducing calories can go out the window in a couple of minutes, as you mindlessly reach to fulfill a craving. But a new study says that you can get satisfied with far less food than you think, or what you tend to believe you need.

So, how much chocolate would you need to eat to be satisfied? How about potato chips? Or, more healthily, almonds? According to Cornell University researchers, less than half as much as you think. They performed a snacking study using chocolate chips, apple pie, and potato chips—items that are best at disrupting diet goals.

The study was designed to determine if people who were given smaller portions of snack foods would feel hungrier or satisfied 15 minutes after eating.

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Two groups ate different portion sizes. The group that consumed the larger portion size received 100 grams (g) of chocolate, 200 g of apple pie, and 80 g of potato chips. These are slightly larger than recommended portion sizes, equaling 1,370 calories. The other group was given 10 g, 40 g, and 10 g of these same foods, for a total of 195 calories. The two groups were given as much time to eat as needed, and were asked to fill out surveys to rate the enjoyment of, and familiarity and boredom with the food. They were also asked to rate their hunger and level of craving before and after eating these foods.

Remarkably, the study showed that smaller portion sizes can deliver similar feelings of satisfaction to larger portions. But the differences in food consumed were immense: 77% more food and a ton of calories. Yet the group that ate more did not feel any stronger feelings of satiety than the group that ate less.

Overall, portion size is the key factor here. Know that smaller portions are not only a much better idea, but they may also make you just as satisfied. And you’ll feel far less guilty, of course. A small snack can help get you past hunger and desire. When you snack, and eat full meals as well, limit portion sizes and do a study on yourself. How do you feel 15 minutes later? You have the power to change your eating patterns forever.

Sources for Today’s Articles:
Before You Eat a Big Snack, Read This
Van Kleef, E., et al., “Just a bite: Considerably smaller snack portions satisfy delayed hunger and craving,” Food Quality and Preference 2013; 27(1): 96–100.