Energy is important to support the growth and development of youngsters, especially adolescents. The estimated energy requirements vary and are dependent on several factors such as growth rate, body composition and physical activity level of the individual.However, an energy balance should be maintained whereby the intake equals to the energy expenditure. Imbalances may result in either weight gain or loss. Therefore, snacks should provide the adequate amount of energy.
Carbohydrate contribution of snacks
The RDA for carbohydrate is set at 130g/day for children and adolescents and should provide 45-65% of the total energy intake (Shils et al. 2006, p.820). For optimal health, it is important to emphasise on complex sources of carbohydrates which provide energy as well as other essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. However, according to studies, a high proportion of carbohydrate in the adolescent’s diet is from refined sugars, especially sucrose. These are mainly consumed as snacks such as sweet biscuits, cakes, confectionaries, and carbonated drinks.
Contribution of fat from snacks
The recommended fat intake in adolescent’s diet should not be greater than 30% of the total fat with less than 10% from saturated fat (Shils et al. 2006, p.820). Snacks may be regarded as major significant contributors to the daily fat intake of adolescents and they are usually consumed as invisible components of fat present in cakes, biscuits, cream and pastries. Howard and Reeves (2005) have also found that the level of saturated fat present in snacks were beyond acceptable level and result in excessive amount of fat in the body.