What is the low-fat snack dragon?
This is the big idea that noshing on low-fat snacks throughout the day will save you calories, especially in the form of fat, and help you lose weight.
Wrong. Let me explain why.
Low-fat snacks like popcorn, 100-calorie packs of thin cookies and crackers, wheat thins, goldfish, flatbread crisps, dry cereal, baked chips, “skinny” ice cream bars, pop chips, pretzels, granola bars, fat-free pudding and yogurt, angel food cake, mini bagels, and any other boxed or bagged food marketed as low-fat. The list could go on for a while but I think that gives you a fine idea of what I’m referring to.
These snacks are, in fact, low in dietary fat and total calories. Why? Because fat provides more calories than carbohydrates per gram and therefore by removing fat and replacing it with carbohydrates and sugar, the total caloric content is lowered. When we eat carbohydrates (otherwise knows as sugar, glucose, fructose, sucrose, etc) our body responds by releasing insulin from the pancreas. All is great because this is what is supposed to happen. However, if you’re just snacking on your low-fat goodies and sitting around, you aren’t using this quick energy source to do much of anything and energy that isn’t used is saved. As body fat.
So, in essence, a low-fat snack isn’t really addressing your issue of avoiding weight gain. In fact, it’s contributing to it indirectly. Additionally, it is challenging to stop eating just 1 cup of popcorn or 2 fig newtons so we continue snacking. And snacking a little more. The rapid rise in blood sugar level as a result of eating more carbohydrate than needed and without quality protein and fat to slow digestion and absorption then leads to a rapid fall in blood sugar. The next step? Hunger and cravings for more low-fat snacks.
There is much more involved in brain chemistry and hormones than what I’ve shared here but this is the main point I want to address for individuals that believe low-fat snacking is helping them lose weight and be healthy. Sometimes just understanding this component of the bigger picture is enough to change their habits. What is the bigger picture? It is eating a balance of protein, healthy fat, vegetables, and low-sugar fruits. When we feed our body processed, low-fat foods there is more hunger and cravings because these snacks don’t support optimal hormone balance or truly nourish the body.
Slaying the dragon with Real Food
A few ideas for snacks to use in place of your old snacks:
- Carrot sticks dipped in 1/2 mashed avocado mixed with salsa
- Organic cottage cheese with ground flaxseed and chopped nuts
- Plain Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
- Chopped chicken breast or Canned tuna in water mixed with 1/2 avocado, salt and pepper
- 10 raw almonds and 1 small pear or peach
- 1 scoop protein powder blended with 1 tablespoon organic almond butter
- Plain Greek yogurt with 2 tsp organic peanut butter + Vegetable sticks for dipping
- Bacon wrapped asparagus
- Hard-boiled eggs with dijon mustard
- Bison or Beef jerky (avoid HFCS and tons of ingredients)
The variety is endless when you open your mind to real foods and omit processed foods. What are some of your favorite real food snacks?