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If you have a habit of reaching for a late-night snack such as chips or crackers, you might soon begin to notice unfavorable results when you step on the bathroom scale. After-dinner snacking is an easy way to gain weight, but switching out your snack of choice for a juicy pear may help you avoid packing on the pounds.

Weight Gain and Weight Maintenance

Weight gain takes place when you eat enough that your caloric intake is greater than your caloric expenditure. For your weight to remain constant, you must consume as many calories as you burn. If the amount you've eaten and the calories you've burned at the end of the day are equal, you won't gain weight. But if you add extra calories by enjoying post-dinner snacks, you're apt to notice an increase in your weight.

A Low-Calorie Snack Alternative

Eating a pear at any time of day adds to your caloric intake. However, if you use the fruit as a lower-calorie alternative to your typical after-dinner snack, the pear can help you limit weight gain or even contribute to weight loss, provided you eat less than you burn. Pears are low in calories; a medium-sized pear has just 101 calories whereas one ounce of potato chips has 154 calories. By swapping the chips for a pear, you're reducing your caloric intake.

Pears and Fiber

A major benefit of eating pears if you're eager to lose weight is their high fiber content. Fiber helps fill you up to control hunger and overeating. A medium-sized pear has 5.5 grams of fiber. Among the benefits of fiber include its ability to help you feel full. If you eat a pear shortly after dinner, the fruit's fiber can limit your desire to snack on higher-calorie foods, thus helping you manage your weight.

A Low Glycemic Index

Although many fruits are high in fiber, pears are advantageous because of their low glycemic index. Pears have a glycemic index of 38, which means they won't lead to a rapid spike in your blood glucose. When you consume foods that have a moderate or high glycemic index, you'll experience a rapid rise and fall in your blood sugar. The result of low blood sugar is often a craving for more food, which can harm your weight-loss effort.

About the Author

William McCoy

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.