Snack packs may encourage overeating

In a forum exchange, Best Health readers said they like prepackaged 100-calorie snacks because they’re convenient and discourage overeating. But

In a forum exchange, Best Health readers said they like prepackaged 100-calorie snacks because they’re convenient and discourage overeating. But in registered dietitian Leslie Beck’s Globe and Mail column this morning, she cites research that suggests the opposite.

According to soon to be published research, she says, dieters were more likely to eat four mini-packages with 200-calories worth of mini-M&M’s, rather than a large, 200-calorie package of regular-sized M&M’s. Non-dieters went for the large package. But the end calorie consumption was the same.

Lead researcher Maura Scott of Arizona State University notes that dieters or “restrained eaters” are more likely to indulge with “mini” or “diet” treats, regardless of the end calorie total. Worse, once dieters feel they’ve failed “the willpower test,” they tend to give up and really overindulge.

Which is not to say that 100-calorie snack packs are bad, per se. We just need to make sure that they don’t trick us into eating more than we’d like. On the other hand, why not dig into a more filling, nutritionally balanced, 62-calorie snack, like a Tuscan Bean Crostini? Mmmmm.

What are your favourite, nutritionally complete snacks?

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