Are You Snacking Smart?

July 7, 2015

Get real! Opt for actual food, like veggies and homemade hummus, over processed packaged foods.

You know that 80s song “One Thing Leads to Another”? Well, it applies to more than just romance. I’m talking about the handful of potato chips that leads to another, and another, until the bag is empty.

Here’s the conundrum: If we know that something isn’t a healthy choice, why do our bodies let us eat so much of it? According to new research being presented this week at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, our gut bacteria may be to blame. Ingesting high-fat foods changes the kinds of bacteria in the gut, which in turn modifies signals sent to the brain. What happens next? The brain doesn’t necessarily register that the body is full. Enter, the snowball effects of overeating and obesity. Though this particular study was conducted on rats, it reveals findings that are likely similar in humans.

Why can’t our miraculous brains always recognize when we’ve had too much to eat? Researchers say it could be related to our change in diet over the last few decades, when artificial and highly processed foods began invading grocery store aisles. What’s a hungry dancer to do? Try sticking to real, whole foods, which our bodies are much more used to digesting and telling us when we’ve had enough.

Next time that bag of chips is calling you name, try to remember: One healthy habit leads to another.