Melbourne: Repeated snacking even in the absence of hunger may put you at risk of unhealthy weight gain, says a new study.
“Eating too frequently, especially when we are not hungry, is a major potential cause of weight gain,” said study author Stephanie Fay who conducted the study at Queensland University of Technology in Australia.
“Excessive portion size and energy-dense foods are often blamed for weight gain but the frequency of eating is a significant contributor too,” said Fay, now based in London with the World Cancer Research Fund.
For the study, the researchers offered volunteers a chocolate snack right after they had as much as they wanted of a similar snack food.
Three-quarters of the people involved, who were unexpectedly offered a second chocolate snack immediately after being given as much they wanted of another chocolate snack food, ate that one too.
The researchers found that those who ate the most of the extra snack were more impulsive, and more responsive to food reward.
“They were also heavier (with a higher body mass index), which suggests that repeated snacking in the absence of hunger is a risk factor for weight gain,” Fay said.
The study was published in the international journal Eating Behaviours.