Many popular snacks are energy dense, empty calories, and elicit a weak satiety response. Thus, frequent snacking can result in excess daily energy intake. However, the results of a new study, published in The Journal of Nutrition, suggest that snacking on low-sugar, highly nutritive snacks, such as hummus, can lead to improvements in diet quality, appetite, and glycemic control.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether a lower-sugar afternoon hummus snack compared with a common higher-sugar snack improves diet quality, appetite, satiety, and glycemic control compared with no snacking in healthy adults. Using a crossover study design, researchers Evan Reister (Purdue University) and Heather Leidy (The University of Texas at Austin) randomly assigned 39 adults to 3 afternoon snack patterns for 6 d/pattern: hummus and pretzels, granola bars, or no snacking. On day 7 of each pattern, a standardized breakfast and lunch were provided. The respective snack was provided to participants 3 hours after lunch, at which time appetite, satiety, and mood questionnaires were completed. At 3 hours post-snack, a standardized dinner was consumed, and an evening snack cooler was provided. To assess glycemic control, 24-hour continuous glucose monitoring was performed.
Study results indicated that hummus reduced subsequent snacking on desserts by approximately 20% compared with no snacking. Hummus snacking led to greater dietary compensation, meaning that subjects adjusted energy intakes in response to previous food consumption, compared with granola bars. Compared to no snacking, those consuming hummus snacks scored lower on measures of appetite. Additionally, satiety was approximately 30% greater following hummus and granola bar snacks compared with no snacking. Last, hummus snacks reduced afternoon blood glucose concentrations by approximately 5% compared with granola bar snacks.
These findings indicate that consumption of a lower-sugar, afternoon hummus snack improved diet quality through reductions in subsequent consumption of high-sugar desserts and increases in vegetable consumption compared with a higher-sugar afternoon snack and/or no afternoon snack. Additionally, hummus snacking led to improvements in selected indices of appetite, satiety, mood, and glycemic control compared with high-sugar snacking and/or no afternoon snacking. These data suggest that the daily consumption of a low-sugar snack containing hummus might be a potential strategy to improve diet quality and selected health outcomes in adults.
Reference Reister EJ and Leidy HJ. An Afternoon Hummus Snack Affects Diet Quality, Appetite, and Glycemic Control in Healthy Adults. The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 150, Issue 8, August 2020, Pages 2214–2222, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxaa139.
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