It’s been more than a couple of months since the first installment of this two-part article on snacking, a period during which Aegle had a number of activities on continuing wellness education, the announcements for which occupied our newsletters in between. Well, I ended that last article by stating that snacking is not a habit to be condemned, but should be viewed as an integral part of the dietitian’s advice for individuals to lose weight, not energy. And guess what? Snacking is actually one dietary strategy to lose weight! “Say what? You mean I can actually eat more and lose weight??” Yes. And no. Let me explain.
The human body is so well-designed functionally that it automatically adjusts to what it can get, food-wise. Our metabolism shifts gears depending on demand and supply. Simply put, the body slows down usage of energy and shifts to storage mode in two situations; when at rest, and when starved. Thus, it is not wise to starve the body for purposes of weight loss. It is best, however, to feed it small portions consistently. Hence the principle of “snacking”; instead of three large square meals and two small snacks in between these meals, it is in the best interest of our body’s metabolism to decrease meal portions and increase snack portions. Portions are best quantified and standardized through counting calories. If you're sacrificing snacks to cut calories, stop! To lose weight, you need snacks. "Snacking is an opportunity to fuel your body between meals," says nutritionist Rania Batayneh, author of The One One One Diet. Healthy snacks also ensure you won't be ravenous come mealtime. What’s most important with this strategy is that it keeps your fat-burning metabolism revved up.
When starting a diet program, first determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR), the amount of energy your body uses up at rest (i.e., working at the office). This can be accurately determined through a body composition analyzer, such as the one we have in Aegle Wellness Center, or estimated through online BMR calculators. Then design a meal plan that’s equivalent in calories to your BMR. The burning of the existing fat (excess weight) is taken care of by regular exercise; yes, you still need to exercise! For example, if your BMR is 1500 calories per day, your dietary intake should only be a total of 1500 calories or less. Stationary bicycling as a daily exercise at 10kph sustained for 30 minutes can burn as much as 200 calories depending on your build. Losing weight doesn’t sound so difficult anymore, does it? And shifting your meal schedule to accommodate healthy snacking can make it even easier.
Protein (plus exercise) fuels the growth of lean muscle mass, which boosts metabolic rate and increases calorie burn. Fiber, meanwhile, helps improve digestion and keeps you from bingeing on fats and sugars. So while there's no food that will "burn fat" while you eat it, smart choices with these ingredients will help your body operate at maximum efficiency. Susan Bowerman, RD, assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, suggests snacks under 200 calories, with 10 grams of protein and close to 5 grams of fiber. Bowerman says,"When done right, [snacking] keeps your energy levels up and gives you more opportunities to get in all your nutritional needs." Eating snacks with the right ratio of nutrients, with the right calories, will help keep your body energized while you lose weight. Like I always say, dieting does not mean you have to starve yourself to your ideal body weight; it only means choosing the right food to eat and scheduling this to maximize burn and utilization of the body without depriving it of much-needed nutrients. For safe and effective implementation of this strategy through cutting-edge weight-loss programs, have our world-trained nutritionists at Aegle Wellness Center guide you through this rebirth.
Secrets of Snacking, Part 2:
Eat More to Lose Weight?
Benedict Francis D. Valdecanas, MD | December 2, 2016
Berries in yogurt (240 calories with at least 15g protein and 5g fiber)
Handful of almonds (180 calories with 10g protein and 6g fiber)
Tuna on wheat crackers (three servings provide less than 200 calories with at least 12g protein and 8g fiber)
Dr. Valdecañas is a specialist in regenerative medicine research for both hospital-based programs and clinical applications. He utilizes the latest findings and innovations that molecular biology has to offer in optimizing health and human performance through customized micronutrient supplementation, personalized exercise programs, and careful attention to diet and nutrition.