Sunday, December 16, 2012

Myths about snacking

   This brief post is my reaction to the worst billboard EVER.
The billboard is along a busy multi lane road in Greensboro NC.  It shows a man with an odd look on his face - possibly the ad makers were going for a look of surprise.  The man is only shown from about the chest up.  I have only driven by the billboard a few times and was mainly focused on driving, but I believe the man is at a table and is eating chocolate chip cookies (with a glass of milk).  
The caption over the scene of the surprised looking man is, "snacking between meals is guaranteed to lead to weight gain."
   NO IT ISN'T.  Eating more calories than one needs to maintain their weight is what leads to weight gain (99% of the time).  It doesn't matter when you eat those calories or what you call them (meals or snacks) - too many calories are too many calories.
As far as the quality of calories goes, yes, we are more likely to over consume when foods  are energy dense, like sweets. But it has nothing to do with 'snacking' unless the snacking puts a person over the amount of calories their body needs.
   The billboard message I'm highlighting is NOT a public health communication.  It is an advertisement.  It is an ad for a weight loss center. 
    My research and promotion focus is prevention of overweight and I find a lot of treatment venues to be misleading and in some cases, they promote complete untruths. 

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