When it comes to losing weight, slimmers can choose from a long list of diet plans. From calorie counting – which recently saw one woman lose four stone – to embarking on a healthier living plan like Gregg Wallace, there are many ways. By making small changes to a current diet, dieters can actually speed up their weight loss results. Leading nutritionist Lily Soutter says snacking could be wreaking havoc with blood sugar levels and causing many to pile on the pounds. 

Weight loss: Stop doing this common habit to shed pounds fast – what is it?

Lily is a London nutritionist, who specialises in workplace wellness and the tools needed to make practical, sustainable and positive dietary changes regardless of a busy schedule. She has frequently appeared on ITV’s This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, she said: “It is really important to listen to our hunger and fullness cues with regards to snacking. It can be all to easy to mindlessly snack and graze at our desk, but this can wreak havoc on our waist-line and productivity.

“There are no hard and fast rules as to when we should snack as we are all completely different and follow different lifestyles. However, as a general rule of thumb, a balanced meal should keep us satiated for at least a couple hours. If we feel hungry soon after eating, our meals may not be substantial enough.”

While most people grab a snack every couple of hours, Lily says snacks aren’t always necessary.

She continued: “If hunger strikes and you’re not close to lunch or dinner, it could mean that a snack may be necessary to tide you over. It could also mean that you haven’t consumed enough at your previous meal.

“When we go for too long without food, our blood sugar levels may drop and we may feel light-headed, anxious and irritable – otherwise known as that ‘hangry’ feeling.”

Eating too many snacks a day could be bad for health, and also slow down weight loss results.

“Excess consumption of high sugar and high-fat snacks may lead to overconsumption of calories throughout the day and can result in negative health outcomes. Whilst some people may need to snack more than others, continuous grazing can have detrimental effects on long term health.”

So what is the right amount?

While there’s no set rule when it comes to snacking, Lily advises dieters to choose healthier options if in need.

“There are no set guidelines in relation to how many calories snacks should be. However, I usually tell clients 200-250 kcal per snack is generally a good portion size. If snacks are getting close to 400kcal then it may be considered more of a meal and the individual may be consuming too much energy throughout the day,” she said.

“Aim to include a protein source within snacks, which can help with satiety. Fibre-rich foods can also make a great choice and includes fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Increasing our fibre intake has repeatedly been shown to aid with satiety and maintaining a healthy body weight.”

Lily recently warned dieters about the keto diet.

The nutritionist explained that the low-carb plan might not be suitable for longterm dieting due to its restrictions.

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