There is a strong relationship between snacking and diabetes. Lately, snacking has become a trend in everyone’s diet. We started with a 3 meals diet changing now to a 5-6 meals per day.

The habit of eating a snack was developed to help weight loss. Doctors, nurses and dietitians implemented this meal pattern and it is in practice even in schools.

The rationale behind the idea is to prevent individuals from eating big portions of food at main meals. Eating less becomes the tendency if you reduce the hunger sensation before the meal time.

At a first glance, this practice makes sense but – put your hands up – sometimes you just have that small snack after work and end up having a normal dinner too? Or a small snack but end up getting a second plate of your meal because it was so tasty? Also, there was a boom of cookies, crackers, cereal bars invading the snacking world which are so tempting but they are all full of sugars and flours.

This will make you conclude that you spent most of the day eating. More eating -> more food -> even more calories intake -> weight gain –> resulting in one of the risk factors to develop diabetes type 2.

Snacking has an indirect impact in your life if you don’t pay attention

Insulin resistance is in the base of diabetes type 2. When you eat, the pancreas gives an extra effort to produce insulin in order to bring that big amount of glucose intake (the food you have just eaten) inside the cells. In the example of 5-6 meals per day, the pancreas will work at its top performance most of the time and because you are consuming food more often, some of it will build in your body as fat. 

Insulin levels increase when the pancreas works more frequently at its peak performance due to the amount and frequency of eaten food. In the other hand, due the fat accumulated in the body, the insulin cannot reach the organs despite the fact it is highly produced by the pancreas, so the cells won’t receive enough amount of glucose. The signal the brain receives is not “hey, the amount of insulin production in insane but the glucose cannot reach the organs”; the message received by the brain omits the insulin part and sounds like “man, the cells are lacking of glucose” instead. In response, the brain signals the pancreas to produce even more insulin.

The consequence is a slow dead of the pancreas

As any other machinery working non-stop at its peak performance, the pancreas starts breaking down slowly, like a slow dead, and stops performing as it should. Putting this together with the weight gain and the probability of developing diabetes is almost 100%.

There is the need to give our bodies – our pancreas – a rest. We should increase our fasting periods for longer periods instead you keeping snacking every time.

What is a good snack?

So, what should you do? Should everyone start starving until main meals time?

In my opinion, this is definitely something very difficult to reach, depending on your work, your daily activities, habits, etc. But having longer periods of time fasting is something to start thinking about more seriously.

It is possible and you should do your snacking if you are hungry but it is very important that you know how to choose your snack.

Go for:

  • Low glycaemic index foods,
  • Eat foods with more fibre
  • Plan your meal with your activity
  • Do not forget to portion.

What is your opinion in the snacking theory?

Are you aware that general population is eating more and getting more obese also throughout the years? Will you consider fasting longer periods of time now?

Three healthy snacks for snacking