You've hit that awkward point in the day, when it's too late to have a full fledged meal but it's impossible to keep hunger at bay unless you've had a snack. And there you have it, either a banana or a cookie on the counter.
The guilt sets in after you've wolfed down the chosen snack. I'm sure there are Olympic athletes who can resist, but let's be honest, most of us fall a bit short so the cookie's probably the winner. Fat, sugar, yummy signals to the brain, and you're pretty sure this is the awful choice. But is it?
One question we might consider is how long this snack will last me. If I've chomped on a cookie, am I just going to come back in 30 seconds and want another? The University of Sydney in Australia developed a Satiety Index which measures how full and satisfied you would feel after eating a host of foods, including the banana vs cookie.
Foods that have a high satiety index make you feel full longer by adding bulk and filling your stomach faster. Many of these foods that keep your hunger under control contain high fibre and water. So an apple would have a higher satiety level than say white rice.
Heard of the sugar crash? There's a way to measure that too. The glycemic index can tell you how quickly you absorb sugar from food, ie how fast you will crash after. A low glycemic index is recommended because these “slower carbs” could keep you going for a longer time.
For the “best” snack, you'd want a treat that will satisfy and sustain you longer, so choose food that has a high satiety index and low glycemic index. Helps to avoid overeating and sugar crashing.
Back to the trick question – the research surprisingly revealed that cookies and bananas have similar satiety and glycemic levels. So as a snack, you might even say they're comparable! Of course bananas have more natural nutrients than cookies, so we just might be splitting hairs. You could, however, upgrade to an orange. I personally might look for blueberries or chocolate and call it a day. But having today's guide does take some guilt out of choosing between several common foods.
You are now informed, so choose your snack wisely.
**We often get asked for posters, and if you'd like to buy this poster, it's available for purchase here! If you buy through this link Daily Infographic can afford to buy a fraction of a snack (but not actually the whole thing). Happy less-guilt snacking!