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Does Snacking Help Scale Back Obesity?

The February 2011 issue of Scientific American provided a full scale analysis by the talented David H. Freedman of how to fix the obesity crisis which is now considered a modern epidemic in the United States.

In fact, it is such a concern that TV's The Biggest Loser is a major hit because of the interest and concern in this problem.

The quick answer to how to fix the obesity epidemic?  There is no quick answer.

Freedman points out that when all of the scientific research being done to solve the obesity puzzle is put together "it is clear that the obesity fix cannot be boiled down to eating this or that food type or to taking any other simple action.  Many factors contribute to the problem.  It is party environment - the eating habits of your friends, what food is most available in your home and in your local stores, how much opportunity you have to move around at work."

Of course you can't count out the genetic predisposition factors for storing fat, for having higher satiety thresholds, even for having more sensitive taste buds.

Currently willpower is the magic bullet dieters have to rely on, along with exercise, to overcome excess weight.

The bad news as Freedman points out is that "time works against us" in the process.  While it is rewarding to loss weight, as the weight "come off, we get hungrier and develop stronger cravings and become more annoyed by exercise."

Of course there is the issue of the human body fighting back when it thinks it is being deprived or starved.

It responds by slowing down our metabolism so we have to work all that much harder on the treadmill or eat even cleaner to loss even less weight then when we started.

Ultimately researchers have discovered that what does work in the battle of the bulge is tied to successful behavior change.  Karen Miller-Kovach, nutrition researcher and Weight Watchers chief science officer reports that "whatever the details are of how you lose weight, the magic in the sauce is always going to be changing behavior."

Many weight loss experts agree that changing behavior along with receive support is the secret formula that bodes well for initial and long term success on winning the battle against obesity.

One way to change behaviors around losing weight successfully is to keep a food diary and be religious about writing down everything you eat and the calories.

Another important change is to plan for snacking rather than try to white knuckle it and promise yourself you won't eat between meals.

Weight loss guru Richard Simmons believes that snacking came be slimming and prevent hunger from overtaking a well-intentioned dieter.  By planning a snack or allowing for planned snacks you can overcome a well-known diet destroyer.

Healthy Snacking Secrets

Listed below are some snacking secrets designed to help dieters continue to lose weight and avoid unplanned binging:

1.  Eat every three to four hours. This helps keep blood sugars balanced so that your mood and urge to binge won't occur.  A good eating plan is to have breakfast at 8:00 am, lunch at noon, a snack in the afternoon between 3:00 and 4:00 and then a light dinner.

Of course you can adjust according to your own schedule.  The key is to stay without your daily calorie allotment and divide it by the number of meals and snacks you have.  Some diet experts even recommend eating 6-8 tiny meals all day which in essence is snacking every few hours.

Ultimately the key is to always have something healthy at hand to munch on to prevent an unplanned food feast.

2.  Plan Ahead. Keep healthy and low calorie, low fat snacks at home, in your car, your handbag or brief case and at home.  It's hard to find low cal, low fat snacks in the nearest vending machine so avoid those like the plague.

3.  Eat a balanced mix. Depending on your own personal diet plan you need to plan a balanced mix.  If you are eating low carb than plan a good balanced within that system.  If you are counting calories then choose a combo of carbs, proteins and a little fat.

For more information on what science says about losing weight and keeping it off check out the February 2011 issue of Scientific American.  For more diet tips visit Richard Simmons at his website at

If you have some great snacking tips or other tips on dealing successfully with obesity I would love to hear your comments.

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