Study finds that snacking affects healthy-weight and obese people differently, and that choice of snacks differ between groups.
A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition has assessed the association between frequency of snacking and several measures of adiposity. The study included over 10 000 adults from Cambridgeshire, England, who responded to questionnaires, detailing their eating habits and snacking frequencies.
The study reported that snacking amongst individuals of a healthy weight (BMI<25 kg/m2) was inversely associated with body fat percentage. This was seen for both men and women. In addition, in men only, there was also an inverse association between snacking and waist circumference. When assessing overweight or obese women (BMI≥25 kg/m2), the study found a positive association between frequency of snacking and waist circumference and subcutaneous fat thickness. While in overweight or obese men, there was a positive association found between snacking frequency and waist circumference only.
The difference in results reported between healthy weight participants compared with overweight or obese participants was found to be likely associated with the types of snack foods that each group tended to eat. The study reported higher frequency intake of crisps, chocolates, ice-cream, and sweets in the overweight or obese group, while this group tended to eat less yoghurt and nuts, compared with the healthy weight group.
O’Connor L, Brage S, Griffin SJ, Wareham NJ, Forouhi NG “The cross-sectional association between snacking behaviour and measures of adiposity: the Fenland Study, UK.” Br J Nutr. 2015 Oct;114(8):1286-93.
Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD