Grazing/Snacking myths

Until recent human history, eating food in-between meals was not even heard of. The behavior was not even considered. It was foreign and it was common knowledge that everybody got their daily intake of food eating meals. That was it.

There were a few exceptions to this norm. Babies and toddlers needed to eat more frequently than adults, simply because their stomachs are too small to hold any excess calories. This is still true today. Babies and toddlers eat small frequent meals because that is how their bodies are designed to eat.

The second exception was active teenagers. Such people were often involved in heavy manual labor, and possibly athletics. With a growing body and such high expenditure of calories, it made sense that this group would also require some supplemental food throughout the day, if only to keep up with their tremendous workload. Today, teenage athletes still may require some snacks throughout the day, but since most teenagers are far more sedentary then ever before, the normal mealtime is more than sufficient.

Outside of these examples, there is very little evidence to suggest that snacking is a good behavior for any individual, especially adults. Adults have more than enough capacity to eat a meal that will sustain them until their next meal. Adults can also have the self-discipline to wait until their next meal, and in doing so to be a role-model for others.

The correct answer is that eating all the time helps you accumulate and store body fat.
Many people, including some “experts” believe that it is important to eat all the time, or to “graze”, for the following reasons:

#1 – Grazing will help you maintain a steady blood sugar level

The idea here is that we all need a constant and steady supply of sugar from food to ensure that we maintain adequate blood sugar levels. This is partially true. Yes our blood sugar needs to remain within a certain range, but no, we are not supposed to do that by grazing on food! We all have plenty of sugar in our livers and in our fat cells. Once the sugar in the liver is depleted, then our bodies move to using our fat. This is how our body maintains an adequate blood sugar level. If we graze we never allow our bodies to use those fat reserves and therefore that fat will stay exactly where it is no matter what you do.

#2 – Grazing will help you keep hunger at bay

The idea here is that eating on a constant basis will keep you from becoming hungry. There are a few problems with this. The first is that the old primitive part of your brain wants you to eat at all time. If it thinks that you will always eat when you are hungry then it will always make you hungry, even if you have plenty of energy and nutrients in your system. Secondly, by never allowing yourself to become a little hungry you forget what that sensation is. You become unaware of what hunger really feels like and you train yourself to avoid it at all costs by constantly grazing.

#3 – Grazing maintains your energy levels

Again the idea here is that by grazing you will somehow be giving your body a constant supply of energy. This misconception is derived from the notion that as soon as you eat food, it is converted into energy immediately and therefore can be used immediately. What actually happens is that when food enters the stomach, our body needs to break it down and decide what it is going to do with it. Some food will be used, some will be stored, and what is not needed will be eliminated. However, when you graze the food that you eat will almost always be stored.

The reason is that grazing promotes a constant release of insulin which is the storage hormone. When insulin is present it hoards all of the energy that is derived from the food and sticks it into your fat cells. It doesn’t matter if your cells are screaming for some energy, when insulin is present it will store everything if it can. So you could end up in a situation where you have very low levels of cell energy because all of the food that you are eating is going straight into your fat cells! This is what the behavior of grazing can do for you, and this is the most potent recipe for fat accumulation.
If you want to learn more about hunger click here…

Cultures that snack more have higher rates of obesity
In America, 26% of total calories are consumed as snacks outside of meals. That’s twice as high as the rate of calories consumed as snacks in 1976. The obesity rate is now over 31%.
In France, 10% of total calories are presently consumed as snacks and the obesity rate is correspondingly lower at 12%.
In China, 3% of total calories are presently consumed as snacks and the obesity rate is only 5%.
Many stdies correltate rise in obesity with snacking
Click here on blog post of that study