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Protein snack in teens may help control appetite and diet quality.

Posted:  Thursday, May 28, 2015

Feeding teenagers is one of the biggest challenges faced by mothers and when it comes to snacks, this challenge gets amplified. How does one feed growing boys and girls nutritious, filling snacks that are tasty as well? Researchers in the US have found that providing high protein soy foods as afternoon snacks may help reduce afternoon appetite, delay subsequent eating and reduce unhealthy evening snacking in teenagers.

Published in the Journal of Nutrition, the study employed male and female adolescents aged 13 to 19 years who were either normal weight or overweight. The teens were given soy-protein pudding as an afternoon snack. The researchers evaluated the effect of afternoon snacking on the teens' appetite, drive to eat and food choices later in the day.

The researchers also checked if these parameters were different when the teens skipped eating snacks altogether and the effect of afternoon snacking on their cognitive performance and mood. They found that high protein snacks provided satiety and appetite benefits. In addition, the teens also incorporated more protein and less dietary fat all through the day thus improving dietary composition. The protein snacks seemed to benefit certain aspects of mood and cognition as well.

"Our research showed that eating high-protein snacks in the afternoon helps teens improve the quality of their diets as well as control appetite," said the researchers. They further said, “When kids eat high-protein snacks in the afternoon, they are less likely to eat unhealthy snacks later in the day, which is particularly important for kids who want to prevent unhealthy weight gain." So the next time afternoon hunger pangs hit you, go happy snacking on protein rich foods!

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