The increasing rate of obesity has led parents to try various means of limiting the total calorie intake of their children. But it has been noted that restricting them to eating only healthy food is not a very feasible option.
A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics and led by Adam Brumberg, the deputy director of the Food and Brand Laboratory at Cornell University, has found that replacing low nutrient dense snacks like potato chips by high nutrient dense snacks like cheese and vegetables can result in a reduction in the total calorie intake by the children.
The study was carried out on 183 children from 3rd to 6th grade. 45 children were given potato chips to snack on, 36 were given cheese, 59 were given raw vegetables, whereas 43 were given cheese along with vegetables while watching television. The calorie intake of all the children was calculated after 45 minutes of snacking.
Giving a Nutrient Dense Snack Results in Reduced Weekly Calorie Intake
The researchers found that kids who snacked on chips consumed 620 calories on an average. Those who had cheese consumed 200 calories; those who ate raw vegetables consumed 60 calories; while children who ate cheese and vegetables consumed around 170 calories. The researchers noted that children do not like to eat raw vegetables and hence those in the vegetable group consumed the least calories. So restricting their options doesn’t necessarily work.
They eat until they are full. So, offering low nutrient dense food like chips results in eating more quantity of chips which, in turn, leads to a higher calorie intake. But if that is replaced by a high nutrient dense snack, it leads to a reduced weekly calorie intake.
- Brian Wansink, et al. Association of Nutrient-Dense Snack Combinations With Calories and Vegetable IntakePublished online December 17, 2012; (doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-3895)