Be Careful—Not Always a Healthy Snack


Autumn, a time to get in those last few outdoor sports and activities before winter arrives.  It brings memories of sitting in front of a warm, cozy fire snacking on your favorite “healthy” snack—Trail Mix.  Enter commercial packaging of Trail Mix.  Your “healthy” snack has just turned into one of the worst snacks for your waistline.

Commercial and Health Food Store Variety trail mixes almost always include raisins, cranberries, dried pineapple, or some other dried fruit which are LOADED with sugar.  Add your chocolate-covered almonds, yogurt-covered nuts, seeds, raisins, M&M’s, chocolate curls or chocolate chips, even if organic and dark chocolate, you are in even worse shape.

Consider that 1/2 cup of trail mix contains upwards of 30 grams of sugar!  This includes organic trail mix, Organic sugar etc.etc.etc.  Sugar is sugar.

Trail mix is a very high calorie snack.  It was designed that way for those buff outdoorsy athletes that needed high calories to offset their energy expenditure. But, when the high fat content added from the nuts, that 1/2 cup of trail mix can easily exceed over 300 calories per 1/2  cup.  That is more fat, sugar, and calories than ice cream.

Trail mix contains very little protein content as it is combined with loads of fat, and carbs in the form of sugar.  Carbs give rise to your “storage hormone” insulin.  Ingestion of fat obviously increases the fatty acid content in your blood stream which makes a troublesome recipe for combining high-glycemic carbs and high-fat content for fat storage.  Target site-your stomach.  If protein is introduced in your trail mix in a substantial quantity insulin release is combated to a degree, but unfortunately most trail mixes only contain a few grams of protein which is not substantial enough.

So if the thought of having a flat stomach is being sabotaged by your trail mix there is still hope for you.  Simply make your own trail mix.  What a novel thought.  Just mix raw, unsalted, not roasted nuts and seeds together for a healthy snack that won’t add stomach fat.  Limit your intake to ¼ cup maximum amount and thoroughly chew each mouthful.  I like to eat one nut or seed at a time.  It draws out the pleasure and taste of a honest, healthy snack.

Dr. Janeel Henderson