May 25, 2007
The Snack Pack Craze
If only solving America's obesity epidemic were as simple as filling grocery shelves with 100-calorie treats.
• Small packages may turn highly processed foods into not-so-unhealthful snacks, but they don't turn cookies or chocolate into fruits and vegetables.
While some better-for-you versions of classic treats are lower in sugar and fat, they don't fit the definition of a nutritious snack. Empty calories are still empty calories. Many of the snacks contain high-fructose corn syrup. Some get half their calories from fat.
Dietitians tend to focus on how people can use snacks to meet their nutritional needs instead of just racking up calories. Nutrient-rich foods whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and small amounts of protein-rich foods, offer better snack choices.
• Portion control will only work if people have the willpower to stick to just a single serving rather than simply ripping open another 100-calorie pouch.
• Whether 100 calories is a reasonable snack size depends on how often a person is snacking. Most people no longer eat three square meals a day and then have a 100-calorie snack. A series of snacks often replaces breakfast or other meals. If snacks are replacing meals, the need to focus on nutrient-rich snack foods becomes even more important.
One survey indicates an increase in the amount of calories Americans eat for snacks. In 1971, a typical snack was about 185 calories. In 2002, it was 234 calories.
Posted by Lisa at May 25, 2007 7:12 AM
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