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Snacking Calories Add Up

Put down that cookie for a slimmer New Year.

With the holiday season comes a bounty of tasty nibbles! But a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition tells a cautionary tale about eating festive cookies and snacking from those leftover party platters.

Using dietary recall data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers found that participants who included snacks in their diets upped daily intake totals by an average of 493 calories for men and 360 calories for women. While eating smaller main meals balanced out some of these calories, snacking still resulted in a net calorie gain.

The study authors caution that, over time, the positive energy balance created by extra snacking calories may contribute to unwelcome weight gain. So help to make your clients aware of how snacking contributes to overall energy balance and encourage people to more often select foods like vegetables and fruits, which are less calorie-dense. Sorry, eggnog doesn’t fit the bill!

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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November-December 2020 IDEA Fitness Journal

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