Snacking on protein can improve appetite control, diet quality in teens

May 24, 2015 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Snacking on protein can improve appetite control, diet quality in teens

Although eating high-protein, afternoon snacks can aid appetite control in adults, little information exists to guide parents on what types of snacks might benefit their teenaged children. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that afternoon snacking, particularly on high-protein-soy foods, reduces afternoon appetite, delays subsequent eating and reduces unhealthy evening snacking in teenagers.

Male and female adolescents between the ages of 13 and 19 who were classified as either normal weight or overweight participated in the study. The researchers assessed how snacking in the afternoon affected teens' appetite, drive to eat and food choices later in the day and whether these were different when teens skipped eating snacks altogether. The researchers also measured how afternoon snacking affected teens' cognitive performance and mood.

In addition to the appetite and satiety benefits, the researchers found that when the teens ate the high-protein snacks, they incorporated more protein throughout the day and consumed less dietary fat. Adding protein snacks in the afternoon could be a good strategy for individuals who are trying to eat more protein throughout the day. They also found that the high-protein snacks improved certain aspects of mood and cognitive function.

The afternoon protein snacks were soy-protein pudding. The researchers said that although high-protein puddings with soy are not available to the public, similar high-quality protein sources should offer similar benefits.

Source: Journal of Nutrition, 2015.

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