Journal Article

Snacking Recommendations Worldwide: A Scoping Review

Monika Potter, Antonis Vlassopoulos and Undine Lehmann

in Advances in Nutrition

Published on behalf of American Society for Nutrition

Volume 9, issue 2, pages 86-98
Published in print March 2018 | ISSN: 2161-8313
Published online April 2018 | e-ISSN: 2156-5376 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmx003

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Abstract

Across the globe, dietary habits include the consumption of foods and drinks between main meals. Although often described as “snacks” or “snacking,” there is no scientific consensus of what constitutes a snack, either as an eating occasion or as a snack food. Nonetheless, food-based dietary guidelines, compiled at national or regional levels by governments, learned societies, and health organizations, frequently refer to snacking habits and desirable or undesirable snack food choices. This review aims to provide a comprehensive snapshot of snacking recommendations worldwide. From a search of 207 countries and organizations, 49 countries and 7 regional or global organizations were identified that referred to snacks, snack foods, or snacking. A total of 136 snacking-specific recommendations or examples were identified, which varied in nature whereby some provided advice on the quality of the snack food choice and others focused on the frequency or energy and nutrient composition of such snacks. Guidelines varied in terms of the detail of foods and drinks identified, wherein some recommendations focused only on foods or food categories to include (e.g., fruit or dairy) or to exclude (e.g., processed foods), whereas other recommendations made reference to both. Both individual foods (e.g., apples) and food categories (e.g., fruit) were mentioned. Reasons or rationales to support the snacking choices were less frequently identified and varied across regions. It is hoped that this analysis will stimulate discussion on the need for a consensus in the scientific community and beyond with regard to snacking. An agreed-upon definition of snacks, snacking, and snack foods could be used to inform a number of stakeholders and ultimately help consumers adhere to healthful diets as defined locally.

Keywords: snacks; snack foods; snacking; dietary guidelines; dietary recommendations

Journal Article.  8925 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medicine and Health ; Dietetics and Nutrition ; Biochemistry ; Food Microbiology ; Gut Microbiology

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