Perhaps one of the most destructive and misleading components of the food industry today is the intense way that snack foods have come to the forefront as an American passion, and yet so little is understood widely about both their benefits and drawbacks. There is about any snack food you can imagine at every grocery and corner store in the nation. Cookies, chips, popcorn, pretzels, and more are ubiquitous as part of the fabric that makes American cuisine. As our nation’s consumers have slowly but surely started to trend towards healthier lifestyles, many snack food brands have responded by putting out what they dub “100-calorie” snack packs. Created and sold to blatantly cater to people who count or are just particularly conscious about what they eat, this well-intentioned attempt to aid portion control works by just limiting the serving size for you.
Unfortunately, this often spells disaster for people actually purchasing the snack. There are a two main reasons this is most often the case. First and foremost, 100 calories is nowhere near enough to fill a person. It really is not enough to give your body any meaningful sense of satisfaction, which is necessary to curb appetite. Instead, although you may mentally know that you just put in a small amount of fuel in the form of a small amount of food, your body is still going to be demanding food after you have finished the snack pack. This dangerous scenario, in which you tease but do not fulfill your hunger with such a small serving, is escalated by the second reason snack packs are diet catastrophes waiting to happen.
100-calorie snack packs just portion of the food into uselessly small portions, but they do not improve the nutritional value of the food itself. As a result, the vast majority of these snack packs consist of food that has no nutritional value and does nothing for your body composition – other than spur increased cravings for overly processed foods. These packs leave you hungry, and they leave you hungry for the wrong kind of food.
Now, do not make the mistake of thinking this indicates there is anything wrong with snacking itself. As a component of healthy dieting, snacking is phenomenal. It just demands that you snack on the right foods. Most packaged “healthy” foods do not fit the bill. Choose snacking on protein-rich, healthy, whole foods to achieve the best results, for life.