Crack Down On Unhealthy Snacking

You can tell yourself you're going to snack on an apple all you want, but that doesn't mean you actually will. Many of us are seemingly unable to follow through on our healthy snacking intentions.

When Dutch researchers asked almost 600 people which snack they'd prefer out of a candy bar, molasses waffle, apple or banana, about half chose one of the two healthy latter options. A week later, however, when they were actually faced with the foods, more than a quarter of those who intended to eat the apple or banana instead picked the candy or waffle. (A whopping 90% of those who said they would pick one of the unhealthy snacks did exactly that.)

While it may be difficult to reconcile our snacking intentions and actions, a little gum may offer a lot of help. A separate American experiment found that chewing sugarless gum during the hours between lunch and an afternoon snack led to less calorie consumption during that snack time. The participants also reported less of a desire for sweetness, lower hunger levels, and more energy.

"Overall, this research demonstrates the potential role chewing gum can play in appetite control, reduction of snack cravings, and weight management," researcher Paula J. Geiselman said in a statement. "Even small changes in calories can have an impact in the long term. And, this research supports the role of chewing gum as an easy, practical tool for managing snack, especially sweet snack, intake and cravings."