Weight loss can always be a tricky process, but it can become especially difficult as you get older and your metabolism slows down. Although you may be able to get away with eating lots of highly-processed snacks and not gaining a single pound when you were younger, unfortunately, that’s not usually the case for the rest of your life. That’s why avoiding certain smacks is an essential part of managing your weight over 40. The ever-popular salty pretzel is one particular snack you’ll want to avoid because it can ruin your metabolism.
To learn more about why pretzels can be detrimental to your weight loss journey and your overall health, we spoke to Barbara Kovalenko, a doctor and nutritional consultant from Lasta, and Catherine Gervacio, a registered dietician and nutrition writer for Living.Fit. They explained why you may want to think twice before noshing on some pretzels if you want to lose weight.
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A pretzel is a yeast bread that’s usually shaped into a twisted knot. It can be hand-held (which you can find at chains like Auntie Anne’s) or mini ones that come in a bag (like Snyder’s). This popular snack food can be chewy or crunchy. Because of pretzels’ similarity to other snack foods, like potato chips (which can lead to inflammation!), the calorie and salt content of pretzels make this an unhealthy snack option.
“Pretzels don’t really cause weight loss and they may contribute to weight gain more,” Gervacio says. “They are not the ideal foods for metabolism because they can be high in calories and packed with sodium, especially those that have visible salt granules on the surface.”
“Consuming large amounts of sodium can cause water retention and may contribute to high blood pressure, which can be detrimental to overall health. Additionally, processed foods are often high in calories and low in nutrients, which can lead to weight gain,” Kovalenko notes .
When it comes to calories, Gervacio says that “an ounce of pretzels can provide approximately 109 calories, which may lead to weight loss if taken with other low-calorie foods.” But there are even more serious issues that the excess sodium in pretzels can cause. She says that it “may also affect the metabolism since excess intake can lead to health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and even stroke, which will affect the metabolic rate.” Yikes!
Instead of processed salty snacks, Kovalenko recommends trying healthier options like “raw vegetables with a low-fat dip, a handful of nuts or seeds, or a piece of fresh fruit.” These snacks are rich in nutrients, lower in calories, and metabolism-boosting.
“You can try air-popped popcorn as a snack,” Gervacio says. “Make the popcorn yourself so you can reduce the amount of sodium you put in. Pretzels are simple carbohydrates so it doesn’t give you enough fiber for weight management and healthy digestion. Popcorn is a good source of fiber to either contribute to weight loss or maintain a healthy weight. An ounce of popcorn supplies about 4 grams of fiber.”
Salty snacks can definitely be tempting, but it’s important to be wary of the impact they can have on your health, especially as you age. Women over 40 may find that overeating salty snacks can negatively affect their metabolism and weight loss plan. So, next time you get a craving for some delicious but detrimental pretzels, reach for healthy, metabolism-boosting alternatives like raw veggies with a low-fat dip or homemade popcorn. With the right recipe, they can be just as delicious as your salty metabolism-slowing snacks!