Obesity Presumption #5: Snacking Promotes Weight Gain

Obesity Presumption #5 in the myths, presumption and facts paper published in the New England Journal of Obesity, states that:

“Snacking contributes to weight gain and obesity.”

The underlying assumption is that snack foods are incompletely compensated for at subsequent meals, leading to weight gain.

However, as the authors note, neither randomised controlled trials nor observational data conclusively support this hypothesis.

This is not really a surprise, as snacking is not snacking is not snacking.

In other words, what really matters at the end of the day, is whether or not the calories consumed exceed the calories expended.

Indeed, some people may well find it easier to control their overall calorie consumption by snacking between meals, others may find that this simply leads to uncontrolled grazing.

The bottom line appears to be that this is not a question of whether snacking is good or bad – whether it is or not entirely depends on whether or not those snacks result in extra calories or are adjusted for in subsequent meals.

For some people, a healthy snack is probably the best way to ruin their appetite.

I wonder what my readers feel about this issue – does snacking help control overeating or simply make everything worse?

New York, NY