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   May 23

Protein IS the secret to staving off hunger pangs: Snacking on nuts and seeds in the afternoon can help beat obesity

Group of teenagers were given protein and soy-rich mid afternoon snacks

Staves off hunger and reduces likelihood of them eating high-fat foods

Experts also found protein improved mood and cognitive function

Snacking on protein and soy-rich foods in the afternoon helps stave off hunger and could therefore help in the battle against obesity, new research has revealed.

While the benefits have been well-documented in adults, researchers have shown the same can now be said of children’s diets.

Afternoon snacking, particularly on protein or soy-rich foods, reduces hunger pangs.

It also delays the need to eat while reducing the likelihood of gorging on unhealthy, fatty foods.

Dr Heather Leidy, from the University of Missouri, said: ‘Our research showed that eating high-protein snacks in the afternoon helps teenagers improve the quality of their diets as well as control appetite.

Teenagers who snack on protein or soy-rich snacks in the afternoon are less likely to eat fat-laden foods in the evening, researchers at the University of Missouri found



Peanut butter

Mixed nuts

Pumpkin seeds

Hard-boiled eggs

Greek yoghurt


Edamame soybeans


Miso soup

Roasted soy nuts

Soy milk

Pumpkin seeds are full of protein and can help stave off hunger

‘Standard meals tend to go to the wayside for kids this age – particularly from mid-afternoon to late evening – and many of the convenient ‘grab and go’ snacks are high in fat and sugar.

‘When kids eat high-protein snacks in the afternoon, they are less likely to eat unhealthy snacks later in the day, which is particularly important for kids who want to prevent unhealthy weight gain.’

To test the theory in teenagers, the researchers analysed a group of male and females aged 13 to 19 years old.

All the volunteers were classed as being either normal weight or overweight.

The researchers assessed how snacking the afternoon affected the teens’ appetite, drive to eat and food choices later in the day, and whether these were different in a group of teenagers who skipped eating snacks altogether.

The experts also measured how afternoon snacking affected teens’ cognitive performance and mood.

‘In addition to the appetite and satiety benefits, we found that when the teens ate the high-protein snacks, they incorporated more protein throughout the day and consumed less dietary fat,’ Dr Leidy said.

‘Thus, adding protein snacks in the afternoon could be a good strategy for individuals who are trying to eat more protein throughout the day.

‘In addition, we also found that the high-protein snacks improved certain aspects of mood and cognitive function.’

Those teenagers in the group permitted to snack were given a soy-protein pudding in the afternoon.

Dr Leidy said that although the specific pudding is not available to the public, similar high-quality protein sources should elicit similar benefits.

She said: ‘Health professionals increasingly are recommending that people eat more high-protein, plant-based foods like soy, which are high quality and tend to be inexpensive and environmentally friendly.

‘Our study demonstrated that the positive effects on appetite and satiety can be extended to consuming soy-protein products.’

The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Source: Daily Mail

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