Will Snacking Between Meals Make You Gain Weight?

Viktor Neimanis/Hemera/Thinkstock.com

Yesterday, we reported on a study that found eating mini meals throughout the day may not be the best weight-loss strategy. And today we’ve got evenmore evidence to support the finding that snacking may not help you keep off pounds. A new study from Drexel University, published in the journalAppetite, found that people who skip snacks before a meal eat roughly the same amount at the meal as those who eat something beforehand.

For the study, researchers divided participants into two groups: The first group had a protein shake, and the second group didn’t eat anything. Then, researchers told both groups to eat a regular meal roughly four hours later. Guess what? Those who’d fasted didn’t eat any more than those who’d had the shake.

Now, to be clear, the study was self-reported, which isn’t the most reliable survey method in the science world. That said, researchers believe the results still may check out—because hunger levels, they say, are a little more stable than you think. In other words, your body may be more trained than you realize to eat roughly the same amount at mealtime, regardless of what you’ve consumed earlier in the day. Which means being hungrier leading up to a meal doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll compensate by eating tons more. And by the same token, going into a meal not starving may not mean you’ll eat any less.

Of course, balance is still the main goal—so if you majorly overdo it at one meal, it’s still a good idea to try to take it easy at your next one.

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