Some people are more likely to crave for foods high in sugar such as cakes and biscuits in the afternoon. A new study claims that this is simply how the brains work.
Researchers at the Flinders University, Australia and Liverpool University in the UK studied more than 300 young women aged between 17 and 25 to track their feelings towards food at different times of the day.
‘It might be hard for some people to quit snacking. But snacking on healthy alternatives such as fruits, unsalted nuts and yogurt are recommended.’
The results of the study showed that women are wired to feel high sugary foods more appealing as the day progresses
"Our findings showed a tendency to automatically think of unhealthy snack foods in a more positive manner as the day progressed, which previous research has shown to contribute to greater craving, desire, and ultimately, consumption of those foods," said Dr. Ashleigh Haynes.
"This highlights that it might be especially important to implement strategies that replenish our capacity to control automatic responses, or limit the availability of unhealthy snack foods later in the day, when we tend to evaluate those foods more positively."
Dr. Kacie Dickinson, Flinders Dietitian, said, "The results might be explained by our commonly accepted standards for snacking."
When people snack on cakes, biscuits or salty snacks in the afternoon, they should also be aware of what such products are made of.
"Unfortunately, many common snack foods we eat are highly processed, with high amounts of sugar, fat, and salt, so potential strategies to reduce people's intake of these foods is really important," explained Dr. Dickinson.
Dr. Dickinson recommended snacking on healthy alternatives between meals such as fresh fruits, 1/3 cup of unsalted nuts or a small tub (170g) of natural yogurt.
"This research is useful in increasing our understanding of a range of influences on perceptions of foods and can help inform ways to decrease unhealthy food consumption to stem the increasing rates of overweight and obesity and related chronic disease in the community," said Dr. Dickinson.
Researchers hope to conduct further studies into how to combat unhealthy snacking.
The study was published in the Elsevier Food Quality and Preference