Women's Health

The Snacking Diaries

Source: Especially women, who are 40 percent more likely to snack than men, according to market research.One study showed that between-meal snacking is a potential risk factor for obesity.Our writer noshes her way through a package of string cheese a week.

The Diaries Our series in which experts help real women decode and overcome real health problems

“Three squares” seems about as relevant these days as “clean your plate.” Snacking is a national pastime, an industry unto itself, even a belief system. But is its mantra—“eat small and often”—a healthy move for your body? Experts are divided: Studies find that eating frequently can help balance blood sugar and stave off binge-inducing hunger. But other evidence shows that snacking is incompatible with slimming down. For instance, most members of the National Weight Control Registry, the comprehensive database of people who’ve dropped and kept off at least 30 pounds, do not nibble between meals.

Two things experts can agree on: It’s easy to get caught in a constant-noshing mode that sabotages weight loss or maintenance, and keeping a food journal is the best way to regain control. So we asked three women who struggle with their snacking to keep a diary detailing their bites, then had nutritionists and weight-loss pros tell us where they’re going wrong—and right. If their revelations ring a bell, you know what to do.

Emily Johnson, 25

SNACKING PERSONALITY: NONSTOP GRAZER

As an account executive for several food clients at a Los Angeles PR firm, Emily can’t escape the lure of the well-stocked kitchen and snack table, which she hits up at least three times a day, especially when under pressure. She has a particular weakness for cheese and salty bites like chips, often using them as a makeshift meal when she’s short on time. Business trips make it even harder to stick to a routine.

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