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26% ruining benefits of healthy meals by unhealthy snacking: Study

Quarter of people are wasting the benefits of healthy eating with unhealthy snacks, increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease, finds study.

Researchers studied the snacking habits of 854 people and found that half of the participants do not match the healthiness of their meals to that of their snacks and vice versa and it has a negative effect on health such as blood sugar and fat levels.

While a quarter (26 per cent) of the participants reported eating healthy main meals but had poor-quality snacks such as highly processed food and sugary treats. The unhealthy items are linked with higher body mass index (BMI), higher visceral fat mass and higher postprandial associated with metabolic disease such as stroke, cardiovascular disease and obesity.

On the contrary, intake of healthy snacks like nuts and fresh fruits can result in better metabolic health and decreased hunger, according to the study published in the European Journal of Nutrition.

“Considering 95 per cent of us snack, and that nearly a quarter of our calories come from snacks, swapping unhealthy snacks such as cookies, crisps and cakes to healthy snacks like fruit and nuts is a really simple way to improve your health,” said Dr. Sarah Berry, from King’s College London, UK.

Importantly, the study showed that snacking after 9 p.m. was also associated with worse blood markers compared to all other snacking times. “This study contributes to the existing literature that food quality is the driving factor in positive health outcomes from food.

Making sure we eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, protein and legumes is the best way to improve your health,” said Dr. Kate Bermingham, from King’s College London.