Reducing snacking

Oh, we're done with all that vegetable-steaming and mess, our children are cutlery-wielding, spaghetti-chomping angels... at least some of the time.

Re: Reducing snacking

Postby oriel » 06 Jul 2012, 20:21

camper wrote:I am of the opinion that human beings have evolved to eat small frequent meals, not restrict calories to a couple of big meals a day.

Actually it might be just the opposite. It appears to depend on whether you get most of your food energy from sugar (including starch) or fat. (You can't get enough energy from protein, so those are the only two options.) If you get your energy from sugar, you'll have insulin spikes and crashes causing you to get hungry again every couple of hours. But if you get it from fat, you'll have a steady blood sugar level and keep going for longer, plus you'll be able to use your stored body fat for energy, something you can't do when your insulin levels are high. Certainly as soon as Husband and I changed our diet we completely lost the need to snack.

But I doubt small children can go as long between eating as adults can. A newborn baby, of course, will be eating (milk) every couple of hours. So there must be some sort of transition. I'd imagine that kids will need more frequent meals than adults for some time, but I have nothing other than a guess to base that on.

We also haven't evolved to be sedentary and eat highly processed foods with a high sugar and saturated fat content. The environment we now live in is far from what our bodies were designed for and pretty obesogenic. For this reason, I think teaching kids to eat when they are hungry, not because "it's that time" is probably a better approach, and for active children (and probably adults too) frequent healthy snacks are no bad thing.

I agree with this (though saturated fat turns out to be good for us, just not in conjunction with sugar which is where most people encounter it these days). I think Rose's point is that it's easy for snacks and grazing to become a habit, and then the child is eating because the food is there, or out of boredom, rather than because they are hungry.
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