To Snack or Not To Snack?
Recently there has been a lot of media about not snacking and actually allowing your body to feel hungry between meals. But there’s a big benefit to having two to three between-meal snacks every day.
Be warned: This explanation gets a little geeky, but it’s important to understand that eating (or not eating) triggers specific reactions in your body. When you don’t snack, your body starts to go into starvation mode – that it might not be getting food for a while, so better start shoring up the fat stores! That’s probably not what you want.
Healthy snacking is good!
Healthy snacking helps keep your blood sugar steady and prevents insulin resistance. It also helps stimulate the conversion of T4 to T3 in the thyroid—the body’s fat-burning hormones.
When you don’t snack the body produces “hungry” hormones: serotonin, dopamine, and especially leptin, allowing the body to feel hunger. Some people feel that not snacking will stimulate the metabolism once the body has eaten. In actuality, what we are finding from a biochemistry perspective is that when we start to secrete those hungry hormones, or those starvation hormones and cortisol, our body converts a larger portion of T4 to Reverse T3, which is actually a fat storage version of the T3 (metabolically active) thyroid hormone. Yikes! We are talking about more than 90% of what regulates the metabolism.
Cortisol can also cause insulin resistance. Insulin is the key that unlocks the cell wall allowing blood glucose or sugars to be escorted across the cell wall and be broken down or metabolized by the body giving off energy. Insulin resistance, meaning that even though insulin is produced by the pancreas, the body becomes resistant to allowing it to be effective. Typically a protein and fiber-based snack will feed the liver and stimulate the pancreas.
By not snacking and stimulating the starvation and stress hormones we are actually promoting insulin resistance as well as the conversion of a malformed thyroid hormone that is not as metabolically active as T3.
Of course, by snacking, we’re talking healthy, feel-full snacks—not junk food. Think raw almonds, slices of avocado, hummus with raw veggies, beef jerky or a piece of fruit. To snack or not to snack? I say snack!