Visit the snack aisles in your supermarket – so many choices, so little time!!. I just noticed today that my supermarket actually has two lengthy aisles with chips, snack cakes, cookies, and crackers all separated into individual sections. How convenient!
Also in the news this week was the revelation that the French are getting fat. For years they have been at the bottom of the pack when it comes to obesity rates. Now, they attribute their recent obesity problem to an increased interest in fast food and processed foods, the ubiquity of unhealthy snacks, sedentary lives, and a neglect of their traditional mealtimes that involved the family eating together enjoying their freshly prepared food. Twenty-five years, it was estimated that the average French meal lasted about 88 minutes; today it is down to 38 minutes.
Snack foods in my opinion, lead to mindless eating – remember, “bet you can’t eat just one” from potato chip fame. And it doesn’t look much better for the future. Americans are snacking more than ever with retail sales of packaged snacks at $64 billion in 2010, up from $56 billion in 2006, according to Packaged Facts new “Snack Foods in the U.S., 4th Edition.” The market is predicted to reach $77 billion by 2015.
Children are replacing meals with snacks. When teaching college nutrition courses, students would come to class snacks in hand. And snack food companies are promoting these foods as “healthier” by adding functional fibers, making claims for whole grains, adding vitamins and minerals and trying to lower the fat, sugar, and salt content. But these types of foods are for the most part so inferior to whole, real foods. Many contain GM ingredients like corn and soy – just read the list of ingredients (if you have time). And look for the sugar grams especially if they reduce the fat – manufacturers will raise the sugar content for taste to offset the lack of fat.
There is mounting evidence that not only are fast foods addictive but also snack foods as well. Check out a previous post.
For more recent evidence, CLICK HERE.