Regular Snacking May Make You Age Faster

If you are trying to lose weight, you’ve probably heard that infamous weight-loss mantra: “Make sure to eat small snacks every three to four hours to keep your metabolism high.”

Sounds great, right? Eating little snacks all day and losing weight sounds like a dream. But that’s the problem: it may be a dream.

We all age, but our lifestyles can dictate how quickly we age. While some people may benefit from regular snacking, depending on their individual health conditions, the majority of us could reap major, age-stalling benefits from eating less often.

Not only can reducing your snacking habit help balance out hunger hormones, but it can also slow the aging process on a cellular level. Would you eat fewer snacks if it kept your body younger? I sure would.

Here are a few other reasons why snacking may speed up aging.

Most regular snacks lack nutritional value.

We see snacks as little pick-me-ups between meals. By that logic, if you are going to eat a snack, it should be one of the most nourishing things you can put into your body all day. But the truth of the matter is that most snacks are pretty lacking in the nutrition department.

For instance, how many servings of veggies and fruits do you usually grab when you get a hankering for a 3 o’clock munch? For most of us, the answer is none.

We tend to gravitate towards inflammatory, carbohydrate-rich choices like crackers, pretzels, chips, or cookies instead, especially if we are feeling a little stressed.

But the internal inflammation caused by these choices works to age our bodies more quickly over time. No buneo. (That being said, this would be less of a concern if we were snacking on anti-inflammatory fruits and veggies all the time.)          

Snacking may actually increase hunger in the long run.

While most people snack to stave off hunger until their next meal, that tactic may actually backfire.

If you’re regularly getting hungry two or three hours after eating a meal, maybe it’s time to take a look at the foods you’re eating. They might be a little too heavy in refined carbohydrates or lacking in healthy fats, proteins, and veggie-based vitamins and fiber.

Snacks can mask an underlying nutritional imbalance in your dietary choices. Stop eating so many snacks, and test out how certain meals affect your hunger levels.

The more nourishing the meal, the less you’re likely to feel the need to snack later on. And if you do feel like you need a snack, turn it into a mini-meal with some protein, fiber, veggies, and healthy fats. Don’t ignore the rumblings. Give your body what it is asking for.

Snacking doesn’t necessarily boost metabolism.

The fact is, you don’t need energy-dense snacks like granola, energy balls, or sugary protein bars on a regular basis. Digestion is a really slow process–six to eight hours–meaning that you don’t need that Larabar to give you energy between meals (especially since most of us sit in chairs most of the day).

What snacking actually ends up doing is spiking your blood sugar, which spikes insulin levels, which can actually encourage the body to cling on to excess weight. Major backfire.

Plus, eating a 200 calorie snack is only going to prolong the energy spent on digestion when your body could be using energy for other things.

Beer snacks on wooden table

Okay, snacks might not be for everyone. So how can you actually eat to slow cellular aging? Here are a few hacks:

Intermittent fasting actually does slow cellular aging.

Fasting has been shown time and again to slow down cellular aging, so if you’re constantly throwing bits of food in the tank, you’re missing out on that benefit.

The science behind the anti-aging effects of intermittent fasting is pretty airtight. It is well-documented that eating food less regularly (not necessarily less food, either) helps to preserve the health of mitochondria–the powerhouse of the cell.

Intermittent fasting can also help to regulate fat metabolism and hormone levels and can feel highly energizing. It’s literally the exact opposite of regular snacking in every way.

Eat for nutrient density.

You’ve heard of anti-aging foods before, like dark chocolate, blueberries, chaga, wheatgrass juice, turmeric, and maca. Rather than just grabbing a handful of pretzels midday, feed your body anti-aging fuel.

These are foods loaded with anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and antioxidants that will not only help you look and feel better, but will preserve your health for longer, too.

When you do snack, do so mindfully.

It’s not like you should never snack again. Everyone has their own unique needs and health considerations. But if you’d like to enjoy a snack, make sure you sit down, turn off the electronics, and enjoy if like a meal.

Snacking shouldn’t be something that is rushed on the go. Sit down with a plate, a hot cup of something special, and a good book or a friend and relish in your snacktime.

Whether you choose to snack or not, the quality of your snacking can make or break your health. Do you tend to snack? What are some of your favorite foods to snack on? 

Related at Care2

Image via Thinkstock.

61 comments

Marie W
Marie W6 months ago

Thank you.

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Sonia M

Thanks for sharing

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W. C
W. C10 months ago

Thank you.

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William C
William C10 months ago

Thanks.

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Patty L
Patty Langford10 months ago

thank you

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Mike R
Mike R10 months ago

Thanks

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Edith B
Edith B10 months ago

Sharing!

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE11 months ago

Guilty

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Chad Anderson
Chad A11 months ago

Thank you for the warning!

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JoAnn Paris
JoAnn Paris11 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

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