Today I want to post about a recent webinar I saw about Snacking Trends in America. Below is a review. Enjoy!!
The Nutrition of Snacking; and Snacking Behavioral Trends.
Snacking has increased in the past years where adults are snacking up to 4x a day; and an increase snacking among kids. The trends, people snack more often, and in different situations such as when at lunch, or at events; but also people snack when bored, lonely, hungry, for fun, and in social situations. One very interesting dynamic is snacking has progressed to include traditional meals as snacks, such as a slice of pizza or a smaller (slider) burger now constitutes a “snack”…this made me gasp!
Nutritionally, there is a lack of evidence that frequent snacking is a healthy eating practice.
Chips, and salty snacks tops the list of food items most snacked, but fruits are not far behind. A report cited by the presenters showed that people seek snacks that are high in fiber, low in sugar, high in protein, and an absence of HFCS.
For kids and adults, there is a snacking paradox. A child gets 27% (500 calories) from snacks, and this is actually correlated with a lower BMI, meaning kids who snacked more often was associated with healthy BMI; whereas, adults who snacked more increase their risk of an unhealthy BMI. There were also no positive correlation with frequent snacking and lower risk of diabetes, this was partly due to the very low sample size of studies that showed otherwise.
One positive aspect is that snacking could fill nutritional gaps in a person’s diet, eating fruit as snacks can fill those nutrient holes; this is most essential in the older population that need to increase their daily caloric intake.
The more interesting aspect was the consumer behavior portion. A PHd professor of psychology at Cornell presented this topic. The highlight was this concept/theory of “Hot” and Cold Decisions”, where people tend to make unhealthy food decisions/purchases when: stressed, hungry, angry, or craving food; also if crunched for time. The opposite being of the “Cold” decisions was being calm, cool, taking the time to choose, and considering price.
This is another topic brought up: when to stop snacking. Visibility was one aspect; for example, seeing bones of chicken wings pile up tells a person to stop eating. When there is a appearance of a lot of food, people tend to eat more.