Healthy Snacking

 

HEALTHIER LIVING THROUGH HEALTHIER DAILY DIETRY HABITS

TAKING ON UNHEALTHY SNACKING WITH YOGHURT

  • A healthy, balanced diet is essential to help ensure a healthy life.
  • Modern life can make that difficult to achieve. The advertising and widespread availability of cheap but tasty snacks and convenience foods all contribute to making a healthy, balanced diet more difficult to reach.
  • Yoghurt is not just a tasty, nutrient-dense, accessible and easily digested snack; it can also help provide a healthy and handy route to re-establishing healthier dietary habits.

 

 

NUTRIENT DENSITY, ENERGY DENSITY AND THE ‘IDEAL’ OF HEALTHY SNACKING

  • Snacking, or ‘between-meal eating’, is a common and generalised eating habit in most countries - including those with relatively structured three-main-meals-a-day traditions.
  • People may snack for a variety of reasons, including as a way of supplementing inadequate food intake (a physiological impetus) or due to boredom or emotional stimuli (so-called ‘comfort snacking’).
  • In order to recognise the everyday reality of snacking, it is important to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy snacks and snacking behaviour.
  • An unhealthy snack can be described as having a lower nutrient content, a high energy content (calories), and failing to provide feelings of satiation, thus potentially promoting the craving for further consumption.
  • A healthier alternative can be defined as one that provides favourable nutrients, without excess calories, and promotes a feeling of satiation and satisfaction. These feelings of satisfaction and satiation may thus limit their excessive consumption.

Nutrient and energy density - useful concepts for evaluating dietary habits1,2

  • Nutrient density describes the ratio of nutrients (in grams) to the energy content (in joules or calories) of any particular food.
    Note: Calculation and nutrient density values can vary from one -country to another, e.g. In France, according to the Programme National Nutrition-Santé (PNNS) and in the US, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • Energy density describes the amount of calories per gram of food. Its use helps consumers to evaluate the energy provided by snacks through a given mass/volume ratio. Therefore, consuming products with a low energy density should be more satiating as, for the same number of calories; one would have to eat more of that food (in volume).
  • An ‘ideal’ healthy snack would therefore have a high nutrient density and promote the feeling of satiation/satisfaction. Where weight control and obesity are a concern, an ideal snack should also have a low energy density.

HOW YOGHURT CAN HELP

  • Substituting healthy, nutrient-dense snacks, such as yoghurt or fruit, for less healthy snacks while avoiding habitual or ‘comfort snacking’, could contribute to establishing a healthier, more balanced dietary habit and may be the first step towards counteracting the negative consequences of poor diet, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • The intake of dairy products is already well established as an essential component of a healthy, balanced diet: many national guidelines recommend an intake of between 2 and 5 servings of dairy products daily (e.g. dietary guidelines for US, UK, France, Italy, Spain and Belgium).*

THE BENEFITS OF DAIRY PRODUCTS AND YOGHURT AS PART OF A HEALTHY, BALANCED DIET ARE NUMEROUS AND INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

  • As a dairy product, yoghurt contains several nutrients that are essential for health. They are also good sources of protein, calcium and phosphorous, and also contain zinc, vitamins B2, B12, B5, B9 and A. The bioavailability of these nutrients in yoghurt is also generally good.3
  • Yoghurt contains a high quantity of calcium and phosphorus (per unit of energy compared to the average of other typical foods in an adult diet), which are the main minerals found in bone. Bone contains about 99% and 80% of the body’s entire supply of calcium and phosphorus, respectively.4
  • Proteins in dairy products (including yoghurt) contain all 9 essential amino acids and are of a higher quality than protein from plant sources.5
  • While dairy products are all rich in nutrients; yoghurt has a much lower energy density than most cheeses.6
  • An additional study also proposes that the consumption of dairy, including yoghurt but not including cheese, together with the calcium content of a diet, is associated with reduced type 2 diabetes and reduced fasting blood glucose levels.7
  • Informing/advising an individual on how to satiate their ‘snack cravings’ with a nutrient-rich, low energy, healthy but still tasty snack, while limiting comfort snacking may help them to re-establish a healthier, more balanced diet.
  • The Nutrient Rich Foods (NRF) Index, a system of ranking foods according to their nutritional content validated in the USA, places milk and yogurt as the second most nutrient-dense group of foods, behind vegetables and fruits.2
  • Interpretation of the NRF index therefore suggests that dairy products, including yoghurt, provide beneficial nutrients without too many calories and could, therefore, help individuals to meet their recommended daily dietary intake of nutrients without exceeding energy allowances2

Yoghurt is a nutrient-dense, tasty, handy and easily digested way to help people reach their daily dairy intake.

Substituting yoghurt for less-healthy snacks and food is a simple step towards a healthier diet. Help people develop a healthy dairy snacking habit in a way they’ll like it...yoghurt.
* Varies according to country, population age and serving size.

HEALTHIER LIVING THROUGH HEALTHIER DAILY DIETARY HABITS TAKING ON UNHEALTHY SNACKING WITH YOGHURT

  • An ‘ideal’ healthy snack should have a high nutrient density and promote the feeling of satiation/satisfaction. Where weight control and obesity area concern, an ideal snack should also have a low energy density.
  • Yoghurt is a nutrient-dense, tasty, handy and easily-digested way to help people reach their daily dairy intake.
  • Substituting yoghurt for less-healthy snacks and food is a simple step towards healthier diet.
  • Help people develop a healthy dairy snacking habit in a way they'll like it...yoghurt.

References:

  1. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Available at: www.dietaryguidelines.gov. Accessed May 2012.
  2. Drewnowski A. Concept of a nutritious food: toward a nutrient density score. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Oct;82(4):721 -32.
  3. Gaucheron F. Milk and dairy products: a unique micronutrient combination.J Am Coll Nutr. 2011:30(5 Suppl 1):400S-9S.
  4. Heaney RP. Calcium, dairy products and osteoporosis.J Am Coll Nutr. 2000;19(2 Suppl):83S-99S.
  5. Bos C et al. Nutritional and physiological criteria in the assessment of milk protein quality for humans. J Am Coll Nutr.2000;19(2 Suppl):191S-205S.
  6. Table Ciqual des aliments 2008. Available at: http://www.anses.fr/TabIeCIQUAL/. Accessed May 2012.
  7. Fumeron F et al. Dairy consumption and the incidence of hyperglycemia and the metabolic syndrome: results from a French prospective study, Data from the Epidemiological Study on the Insulin Resistance Syndrome (DESIR). Diabetes Care.2011;34(4):813-7.