Increasingly, there have been talks on the purpose and concept of snacking, such as ‘guilt-free snacks’ and healthy snacks. In this article, we will talk about the best time to snack.
Relationship between a meal and blood sugar level
Our body aims to maintain homeostasis, that is to keep the body in a relatively constant internal environment. For example, after a meal, your blood sugar level will rise. However, it will gradually be reduced to normal levels with the help of a hormone called insulin.
What’s the best time to snack?
While helping to reduce hunger, healthy snacks can keep you from overeating at meal times. Furthermore, having a healthy snack between meals can also help to avoid major fluctuations in your blood sugar level. To know when to snack, let us first understand the mechanism between insulin and the blood sugar level after a meal.
While insulin is continuously secreted, we can consider that there are 2 types of secretion. Low levels of insulin secretion helps to keep the blood sugar level in the body constant especially between meals and overnight. On the other hand, larger amounts of insulin are secreted after a meal or snack to lower the rising blood sugar level.
Although it may be different for each individual, it is said that blood sugar level generally peaks between 30 to 90 minutes after a meal and then returns to normal after 2 hours. Later, 4 to 7 hours after a meal, it enters a fasting blood glucose level.
Lifestyle patterns vary from person to person, but the optimal time between breakfast and lunch, and between lunch and dinner is generally around 5 to 6 hours. As such, if the gap exceeds 7 hours, it’s advisable to eat a small snack in between. Choose healthy snacks, such as those that are high in dietary fiber and low in sugar, as this would avoid sudden changes in your blood sugar level. Eating snacks even if it is less than 7 hours till the next meal may also sometimes be helpful, especially if you use a lot of energy.
Listen to your body as it knows best whether it needs energy, or if it is hungry and not experiencing ‘fake’ hunger.