A couple of weeks ago we reported that a new study said snacking could derail our diets. But now a new study (one that we like a whole lot better) says those of us who nibble in between meals don’t see any differences in our waistlines than those who swear off the snacks. So of course, we’re choosing to listen to the research that doesn’t give us a major guilt complex over all of those Santa-shaped cookies, reindeer truffles and red- and green-sprinkled doughnuts. Here’s why.
Published in the upcoming journal Eating Behaviors, researchers looked at 58 women aged 19 to 41 and asked them about their snacking habits. Participants who admitted to nibbling during the day were no more likely to have a high body mass index (an indicator of body fatness) than those who said they didn’t nibble. There was also no link between nibbling and eating more meals, having more snacks or binge eating, meaning those who indulge in mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks don’t consume any more or less than those who just eat three meals a day.
Researchers theorize that the unchanged BMI of snackers versus non-snackers is due to controlled eating. In this study, those who admitted to nibbling did so in a controlled manner–not mindlessly consuming excess calories. Even so, they warn us that snacking can still be unhealthy.
Katherine Tallmadge, a registered dietitian and author of “Diet Simple” told MSNBC:
Nibbling’s a pretty bad habit. The only instance in which nibbling may be beneficial is if you’re munching on fruits and vegetables.
Sure, ruin all the fun. Somehow snacking on cold carrot sticks at the neighborhood Christmas party doesn’t feel very festive. Besides, if a few cookies here and there won’t spoil our BMI, then who cares? Now if science would just tell us that binging on a pint of Ben & Jerry’s while watching an entire season of Glee reruns is good for us too.