I know what you’re thinking. “Can I really lose weight by eating snacks?
This sounds really good.” Well that’s not exactly what the snack diet is.
So what is the snack diet?
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The snack diet replaces your three meals with more frequent smaller snack sized meals and it is used to control your insulin levels to help you lose weight.
Most people have some familiarity with insulin, they know it has something to do with diabetes and that it is a hormone secreted by the pancreas, but most people don’t know any in depth detail of what it does.
Insulin as well as the other two hormones secreted by the pancreas, which are glucagon and somatostatin share one single function.
That is to regulate blood sugar. There are many thing in the human body that need to be kept within a very tight range and blood sugar is one of them.
This is why type 1 diabetics need to take insulin with every meal, because they do not produce it on their own. If their blood sugar gets too high and their body can’t find a way to lower it this can be fatal.
So exactly how do these three hormones work?
Well when blood sugar gets too low Glucagon raises blood sugar by pulling some out of the liver and increasing fat burning to preserve blood sugar.
If blood sugar gets too high insulin will put it in several places, it can put it in active tissues that are currently utilizing energy, it can put it in the muscles which will convert it to a chemical called glycogen which is a storage form for glucose, it can put it in the liver which will also convert it to glycogen or it can turn the sugar into fat.
In most situations today you do not want the last option.
Somatostatin shuts down both of the other hormones when blood sugar is balanced.
Now to truly understand why the snack diet is as successful as it is we need to take a step deeper into this rabbit hole and take a look at the basic physiological process of insulin.
When insulin comes into contact with a cell this causes a change inside the cell. The cell is told to bring what is called GLUT-4 receptors to the cell surface.
These GLUT-4 receptors are like doorways for glucose saying “Come on in” but eventually the cell will say “sorry we’re full in here try searching elsewhere”.
Now if the active tissues, the muscles and the liver all say “we’re full” then there is only one option left to restore blood sugar back to normal levels, at this point any excess sugar will be turned into fat and that is why controlling your insulin levels is so crucial to losing wight.
So how do we do this?
Well first off you need to eat a diet that is low in sugars and refined carbohydrates, these spike your insulin levels.
Second you need eat things that are high in fibre, this will slows down glucose absorption into your blood so you don’t get such high spikes.
Finally you can look into options that help you keep the habit of keeping your insulin levels down, which brings me back to today’s conversation “the snack diet”.
By eating smaller more frequent portions of food you have less of an insulin spike and therefore less fat production. In addition to that by having more frequent meals this helps you to feel full throughout the day.
The snack diet is also nice because meals tend to be healthier than snacks, so if you treat each snack like a meal you might be getting more nutrition packed into your day.
So how many meals should I have each day?
Well there is no set number, but the smaller and more frequent, the better. Some body builders even eat 12 meals each day to try and gain muscle.
Here are some guidelines you should follow when trying the snack diet.
– Eat no less than two servings of fruit and vegetables with at least three meals.
– Have one serving of dairy with at least three meals.
– Eat one or more servings of whole grains with every meal, also skip the white bread and go for brown, white will spike your insulin.
– Get one serving of protein with at least three meals.
– Finally if you are craving any sugary junk food, have that as a meal by itself, but only have that meal directly after finishing your workout, this will allow you to covert that sugar into glycogen instead of fat.