Yes and no. Lots of different factors will come into play when deciding on whether that snack is good or bad for you.
- What type of snack is it?
- What are the nutritional qualities?
- What are your overall targets and fitness goals?
I could sit here for hours and argue both sides of the coin, but rather than doing that, here’s a few useful points below.
When Is Snacking Bad?
If you're a person that is constantly shoving that chocolate bar into your lunch box or in the staff room always letting your hand drift into the biscuit tin, then more than likely snacking is bad for you.
I'm not saying you can't have the odd chocolate bar or biscuit here and there, of course you can, I do myself!
However, if you're picking at these sugary, processed or high saturated fat snacks, whilst combining them with lots of calories for your main meals then potentially weight gain looms.
By doing this on a regular basis with poor food choices, your body fat levels will potentially increase more and more, leading to possibly more issues, such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes.
So straight away we could argue that snacking is bad for your health, when the snacks are not controlled or thought about carefully!
When Is Snacking Good?
Snacking can be good for you, but it will dominantly come down to the person (next point).
If you pick snacks with high nutritional values, such as fruits and nuts, with good portion control, then snacking can of course be good for you!
If you portion control your main meals along with your snacks in between, then snacking can be very useful in terms of time, convenience and they can potentially stop you feeling hungry!
If you were to pick a poor-quality snack choice then you could be feeling hungry again within an hour, however, pick a good food choice that will provide you with prolonged energy and you're onto a winner.
Will Snacking Stop You Feeling Hungry?
Yes and no. If you choose to pick a snack that has high amounts of nutritional value, then your system will be receiving what it needs.
Foods with a good amount of protein, which helps you feel fuller for longer, complex carbs for a slow energy release and fats that are digested by the body very slowly.
Whereas, if you pick foods with high amounts of sugar (simple carbs), then your body might receive an immediate boost of energy, but it will soon fade. Leading to you feeling hungrier and then tempting you to snack again, which can lead to a lot of calories and unhealthy foods.Yeah, you see my point.
In my opinion, this will be the most important part of this article! Every single person is different.
What works for someone else, may not necessarily work for you. Plus, we all have different fitness goals.
If your goal is to lose weight, then you will need to ensure a calorie deficit (burn off more calories than you consume) and if you're constantly snacking throughout the day whilst also eating your main meals then the likelihood of you achieving a calorie deficit is very low, therefore snacking is bad for your particular fitness goal.
On the other hand, if your fitness goal is to add some muscle to your frame, then you will need to ensure you're in a calories surplus (consume more calories than you burn off). In this case, snacking between meals could be perfect for you, simply because you need to get the calories on board to achieve your end goal.
On A Final Snack Note
I don't believe there is a right or wrong answer. Snacking will simply come down to the person and that's person's fitness goals.
In terms of overall health, of course there are better snack choices out there. Instead of chocolates, sweets and crisps opt for popular healthy snacks being fruits and nuts.
These foods are healthier because they hold more nutritional value, meaning they have higher amounts of vitamins, minerals and healthy omegas, compared to the chocolaty snacks that have high amounts of sugar and saturated fats.
Snacking can be good for you and snacking can be bad for you. Just be aware about your choice of snack and consider your current fitness goals? Will snacking help it? Or will snacking damage it?