Saturday, November 03, 2007

For your health, avoid snacking between the meals

The minister of health has been sending messages to the French to take care of their health. Usually you see these messages on TV, at the bottom of every advertisements.

- «Pour votre santé, mangez au moins cinq fruits et légumes par jour » ;
(For your health, eat at least give fruits and vegetables per day)
- « Pour votre santé, pratiquez une activité physique régulière » ;
(For your health, practice a physical sport regularly)
- « Pour votre santé, évitez de manger trop gras, trop sucré, trop salé » ;
(For your health, avoid eating too oily, too sweet, too salty)
- « Pour votre santé, évitez de grignoter entre les repas ».
(For your health, avoid snacking between the meals)

We all know very well the first three messages and me myself agree and try to do the same. But for the fourth, have you ever heard of that? Its just that I nibble junk food/dessert/cookies all the times in my life and I didn't know it was bad. In Malaysia, cakes, kuihs, cookies, biscuits, confectionery, fruit, chocolate are to be nibbled between meals, do you think this has bad influence on the health? Here's what I found on the internet to response to this question:

  • Although snacking has been thought to contribute to weight gain, this will only happen if one regularly consumes more energy than one needs.
  • Furthermore, as long as energy intake is maintained, snacking may even help some individuals improve their weight control because eating more frequently may promote satiety, favours eating earlier in the day, and may increase carbohydrate intake while decreasing fat consumption.
  • In addition, snacking seems to be associated with a lower risk of heart disease due to a lower level of both total and LDL cholesterol. It does not interfere with blood sugar control in patients with diabetes. As far as oral health is concerned, if teeth are cleaned regularly (at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste), eating up to 6 meals per day should not create problems.
  • There is evidence that eating three meals and two or three snacks per day(nibbling) might be better for you than eating fewer, larger meals (gorging) as long as the total caloric intake remains the same.
Reviewed by Dr. France Bellisle, Centre National de Recherche Humaine Île de France, France

From this report, it seems that nibbling between meals was not so bad afterall. It has been in my habit for years, my mouth itches between meals. As for hubby, he is very resistant to this habit. He does snake between meals, but very little compare to me. I remember when I first arrived in France, his family felt shocked that I would eat junk food between meals. Then I release those junk foods they bought were meant for appetizer. Sometimes for big celebrations like Christmas, family gathering and wedding, people eat so much which I think its not healthy at all. What's the point of respecting 3 meals a day but eat like a pig for big gathering!

The Malaysian eat chocolate between meals, the French eat chocolate after the meal (after dessert while taking their coffee), which one is healthier?

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