To the reader, it almost feels like I am starting a fairy tale where all’s well that ends well. I am not going into a direction where eating a poisonous apple is deemed just. Or where giants eat cattle for breakfast. It is all about the almost mindless rhythm we have when something really tasty lies in front of us. Let’s take up the topic of the human habit of snacking.
Drawn like a moth to a flame, we have grown accustomed to nibbling during the day. The need for something to chew on and grab hold onto something to boost our energy levels. This whole concept around having a snack started around the mid-19th century. And the concept was introduced by the food industry. Since then, the snacking industry has boomed and continues to rise when the time to get those jaws moving again arrives.
Like with many of my articles, there lies an underlying issue that connects snacking to the ever-growing obesity rates in western civilization.
While in certain cases, taking a snack may benefit our mental and physical state. Temporarily, in 99% of the cases, we are over-fuelling our body with “empty” calories. These are fast-absorbing calories that often come from products with a long shelf life. Factory-designed foods, filled with sugars and sodium, and come with add-on chemical compounds that will give you that Scrabble advantage.
When we think about having a snack, we perceive it as “in need of something quick”. Something handy to have when we feel we need it. Crisps, cookies, or candy – the list of what lies stacked in our desk drawer or kitchen shelf when we “feel” the time is right. The food industry is a master of knowing the human taste buds and its cravings when eating more of their product is on their agenda. There is a term for this in the nutrition world – hyper-palatable.
Studies have shown that the number of calories you take in during a snacking session may be as high as one meal (!). We are hardly hungry when we snack. We ignore our appetite cues and binge away on stuff that our body does not need. With this, we top up with food that can make us eat more. And we all had that feeling before; eating too much, and our stomach starts to protest. In a sense, the habit of snacking actually works against us as human beings.
I doubt you ever felt energetic after eating a whole bag of crisps.
Just recognizing these times of the day are essential when looking to take action not to dig in blindly and/or find healthier snacking alternatives. There are other techniques to avoid going for this pitfall.
On the above, there is absolutely no need to go for perfection. Just starting where you are right now and moving forward to become just that 1% little bit better is the best way to move forward. Like me, you too can take on the human habit of snacking head on.
“Think before you snack” | Hua Mulan