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Uncategorized Jul 27, 2022

One diet that has grown in popularity over the years, and one you're probably familiar with, is "grazing". Grazing consists of unstructured small meals throughout the day, as opposed to eating fewer, fuller meals (i.e. breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Grazing has become popular for a few reasons, namely due to its unstructured nature allowing those with "not enough time" to avoid planning for a full meal. It also allows dieters to avoid eating a meal that may leave them feeling full and sluggish. 

Grazing does have its benefits, namely keeping blood sugar and insulin levels more stable throughout the day and allowing for smoother digestion. In theory, it can also limit portion control issues. However, grazing does have many drawbacks as well. 

The most common issue with grazing is that it creates poor nutritional habits. Grazing, by definition, does not take into account the body's natural cycle of hunger. By not listening to the signals your body is sending you, you can turn food into an emotional and environmental response instead. This can have many detrimental effects on your body, including binge eating, emotional eating, and eating due to environmental triggers rather than the body. Another concern with grazing is that most people aren't educated enough in what the body needs, and it's difficult to stay consistent and motivated to graze effectively long-term. In theory, if you keep macronutrient and caloric levels stable, grazing shouldn't result in any notable difference from eating solid meals. However, it's extremely difficult to plan out a full day of small meals that will provide those correct macros. Tracking food correctly and consistently throughout the day is also a task that may prove difficult. 

All in all, even if you do start with the correct macronutrients in mind, plan meals for needed calories, and track food throughout the day, grazing can quickly turn into uncrontrolled consumption of poor food choices decided by emotions+environment instead of hunger+satiety. This dietary lifestyle can (and probably will) lead to binge eating, weight gain, and stress.

So, instead of grazing, choose snacking. Snacking consists of a few larger meals during the day, supplemented by smaller snacks. The main difference is that snacking still takes into account hunger/satiety responses of the body, while also having a more solid plan that is easier to stick to in the long-term. Snacks are planned for a certain time of day, and have a consistent makeup. Snacks such as fruits, veggies, and protein bars are healthy and effective choices to hold you over between meals.

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