Good news: You don't have to eat the whole bag! Nibble on this: Very small snacks are just as hunger-squashing as large between-meal binges, acco...
Nibble on this: Very small snacks are just as hunger-squashing as large between-meal binges, according to a new report from Dutch and American researchers.
The study team recruited 104 people and offered each a mid-afternoon snack of potato chips, pie, or chocolate. Those snacks ranged in size from tiny (roughly .4 ounces, or one bite of apple pie) to massive (more than 7 ounces, or two full slices of pie). The researchers also measured the participants’ hunger levels before and 15 minutes after snacking.
Here’s what they found out: While the large-portion group consumed 77 percent more food (roughly 103 more calories), hunger levels and snack satisfaction were essentially dead even among all participants 15 minutes after eating. Put simply, small snacks were just as effective as large snacks at curbing appetite in the short-term, explains study coauthor Ellen van Kleef, an assistant professor of consumer behavior at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
If you’ve spent any time reading Men’s Health, you know everything from your plate size to your stress level can affect how hungry you feel. Why is that? “Hunger is only weakly associated with how much you actually eat,” van Kleef explains. She says your mind, not your stomach, usually dictates how hungry you feel.
In the middle of the afternoon, when you’ve gone several hours without eating, your mind starts to goose your appetite—even if your body doesn’t really need more fuel, van Kleef says. But popping a small snack and giving your brain 15 minutes to chill out is often enough to satisfy your hunger pangs, she adds.
Give the study findings a try by cutting your normal snack in half. You’ll likely feel just as full 15 minutes later, van Kleef says. Need a good starting point? Here are our picks for the healthiest snacks for men.
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