Snacking in nutrition and health

Franca Marangoni, Daniela Martini, Silvia Scaglioni, Michele Sculati, Lorenzo Maria Donini, Francesco Leonardi, Carlo Agostoni, Gianluca Castelnuovo, Nicola Ferrara, Andrea Ghiselli, Michelangelo Giampietro, Claudio Maffeis, Marisa Porrini, Bianca Barbi, Andrea Poli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Many studies suggest that distributing energy and nutrient intake across 4–5 eating occasions/day (rather than across three standard meals) could favourably affect human health. The inclusion of 1–2 snacks in the daily pattern alleviates the potential digestive and metabolic overload caused by fewer heavier meals and might contribute to meet recommendations for food groups (e.g. fruits, dairy) and nutrients like fibre and vitamins. The snack composition should be evaluated taking into account the whole day’s diet. In early and late ages, and for specific population groups, snacking may need to follow particular characteristics in order to be optimal, both in terms of composition and timing. This document, which is the result of a collaboration of experts across several fields of research, intends to provide a review of the current scientific literature on meal frequency and health, highlighting the beneficial effects of correct snack consumption across the human lifespan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-923
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Appetite
  • Athletes
  • Child
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Hunger
  • Micronutrients
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pediatric Obesity
  • Public Health
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Snacking
  • Snacks
  • dietary intake
  • eating occasion
  • meal frequency
  • meal timing


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