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NewsBites June 2011 Issue

Leisurely Meal Doesn’t Deter Snacking

A long, leisurely meal may not discourage snacking, despite increased satiety and lower levels of hormones associated with hunger. The availability of sweet and salty snacks, Dutch researchers report, seems to override the body’s internal messages to stop eating. Investigators recruited 38 men and women, ages 24 to 30, and fed them the same meal on two different days: first, all the food at once, finishing eating within 30 minutes; then a staggered meal, with up to 25-minute breaks between courses. Blood samples measured levels of a hormone, ghrelin, thought to stimulate appetite, and participants were quizzed about their feelings of satiety or hunger. As expected, after the staggered meal the diners reported less hunger and greater satiety, and ghrelin levels were lower. But those differences were barely reflected two and a half hours after the meal, when presented with a snack feast of cake, chocolate-covered marshmallows, nuts, chips and waffles. Snack calories were only 10% lower—statistically insignificant—after the staggered meal than the regular meal.

TO LEARN MORE: Journal of Nutrition, March 2011; abstract at jn.110.133264.

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