Getting people to kick the habit of snacking altogether is undoubtedly a very difficult way of tackling the obesity crisis that is currently threatening much of the western world. However there are ways in which we could help tackle obesity by working with our pre-existing habits- by finding foods that help satiate our appetites, yet are also healthy than our existing snack favourites.
Some of the worst offenders are potato chips- high in calories thanks to the high carbohydrate content of potato as well as the fat that they are fried in and also very high in salt, one of our favoured flavourings. Of course there are plenty of better snack alternatives- carrot sticks, an apple or a stick of celery, but they aren’t very appetising. Our favoured snack foods such as chips, chocolate and biscuits are very good at getting rid of our hunger cravings and that is the main reason we eat so many of them- one study from the Nutrition Journal suggests that popcorn may help satiate our appetites better than potato chips, whilst also containing fewer calories.
The article in question, from the Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:7is based upon a study of normal weight adults, aged from 20 to 50. The group was split into four, one quarter receiving a control of 200ml of water, and the other 3 groups receiving 15 calories of popcorn, 100 calories of popcorn and 150 calories of potato chips, each with 200 ml of water.
Although the study was only made up of a small number of participants, popcorn was found to be better at satiating hunger in the short term than potato chips, as measured by the personal judgements of the participants and by their energy consumption at their next meal. Whilst far from conclusive, this study does indicate that popcorn may not only fill you up better than potato chips, but it is also healthier- popcorn contains roughly 2/3 of the calories that potato chips do gram for gram. The broader point to take away is that we should necessarily be fighting our snacking habits- by working with them, and finding healthier foods that satisfy our hunger effectively we may be able to make a significant improvement to the physical health of millions of people in the western world. More nutrition advice available for those who want to lose weight or get fitter at physical elite.