Study Shows that Low-Fat Snacks Do Not Increase Total Calorie Intake

April 22, 2009

A filling but calorie-controlled snack, such as Orville Redenbacher’s 94 percent fat-free SmartPop! popcorn, before a meal has been shown to curb hunger without increasing total calorie intake, says a new study.

Guided by health and nutrition guru Dr. James Rippe of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute, the study found that subjects who ate up to six cups of low-fat popcorn (100 calories) 30 minutes before lunch consumed the same amount of total calories, including the meal, as those who consumed only water. In contrast, when subjects ate a cup of potato chips (150 calories) before the meal, they ate significantly more total calories, including the meal. 

“Our findings suggest that some snack foods, such as low-fat popcorn, can be a satisfying and effective way to manage calories,” Rippe said. “Reducing calorie consumption is absolutely essential in the fight against overweight and obesity. Popcorn is unique because it supplies such a big volume of food for relatively few calories.”

Thirty five subjects ages 20 to 50 consumed either water or a snack before the lunch and ate as much of the meal as they wished. Total caloric intake was not different and averaged 717 calories when subjects had water alone or water plus either one cup or six cups of low-fat popcorn. However, when they were given one cup of potato chips, total calorie intake, including the meal, jumped 12 percent and was significantly higher than all three other test conditions.

Results were presented at the Experimental Biology 2009 conference in New Orleans, which was attended by roughly 13,000 scientists.

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