Food Marketed as a 'Snack' May Lead to Higher Calorie Consumption

Food Marketed as a 'Snack' May Lead to Higher Calorie Consumption

Key Takeaways

  • Food labelled as a ‘snack’ can lead to higher calorie consumption
  • Standing up while eating a snack can lead to eating more calories,

Do you enjoy a little snack throughout the day to get out of that mid-morning/afternoon slump?

If so, an innovative new study is a reminder to make sure your snack choices are good for you!

The Study

Professor Jane Ogden from the University of Surrey conducted a study consisting of 80 participants.

Participants were asked to eat a pasta pot labelled as either a ‘snack’ or a ‘meal’

Those who had the snack ate standing up with a plastic fork. Those consuming the meal were seated at a table with proper plates and cutlery.

A second test was then carried out; participants were asked to take a taste test of different foods:

  • Animal biscuits
  • Hula Hoops
  • M&M’s
  • Mini Cheddar's

The Findings

Researchers found that participants who had eaten the pasta pot ‘snack’ ate more in the second taste test than when the pasta was labeled as a ‘meal’.

Those participants who ate the ‘snack’ pot standing up consumed 50% more in the second test than those who had eaten the pot sitting down.

These unique results show that when food labeled as a ‘snack’ instead of a meal, calorie consumption is higher.

Researchers believe that when eating what we consider to be a snack we are more distracted and less calorie conscious.

Professor Ogden explains that:

“With our lives getting busier increasing numbers of people are eating on the go and consuming foods that are labelled as ‘snacks’ to sustain them.”

“What we have found is that those who are consuming snacks are more likely to overeat as they may not realize or even remember what they have eaten.”

What You Can Do

  • Make sure to log everything that you’re eating, and don’t forget! It is okay to eat a healthy snack as long as you are logging and keeping on track!
  • Make your snacks yourself rather than buying them. For example, tzatziki/houmous with crudités, a fresh smoothie, a piece of fruit.
  • Make your meals filling and enjoyable so you’re less likely to snack throughout the day. If your meal contains a good source of protein you will feel fuller for longer.
  • Follow a diet plan – some WLR plans have snacks included, so you don’t even have to worry about what to make, the plan will tell you!
  • Forward planning – if you have work the next day, make up a packed lunch including your homemade snacks! If you get peckish throughout the day, keep a few pieces of fruit handy on your desk.
  • Don’t be afraid to snack, as long as you know how much you’re eating and you’re aware of the calories, you shouldn’t need to stress.

WLR encourages you to follow a healthy lifestyle, and snacking can be a part of that lifestyle.

If you know you enjoy a nibble throughout the day, have a look at these snacks ranging from 100 – 250 calories each, to help get you through the day!

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Meredith, N. 30th October 2017. Food should be marketed as a 'meal' rather than a 'snack to avoid overeating. The University of Surrey. 

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