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Grab some popcorn to curb your cravings?

Experts estimate Americans consume about one-fourth of their daily calories from snacks.

With summer giving way to football season - and the snackalicious parties, game-watching gatherings and tailgates they bring - that number surely rises through the fall months. So I thought some research recently published in "Nutrition Journal" might be particularly timely.

According to a study published online, smart snacking choices may be one key to maintaining a healthy weight.

Well, duh. No surprise there.

More interesting, however, is that some healthier options don't appear to just save fat, calories and sodium, but can also help better curb future hunger cravings than less healthy options.

Case in point: Researchers found that people who snacked on popcorn were less hungry, more satisfied and ate fewer calories than those who snacked on potato chips.

This particular study compared short-term satiety from two common snack foods - low-fat popcorn and potato chips - with researchers monitoring the effects of snacking on hunger, satisfaction and amount of food consumed during the participants' next meal.

Testers were given either one cup of popcorn (15 calories), six cups of popcorn (100 calories) or one cup of potato chips (150 calories) as a snack.

Those who consumed six cups of popcorn reported less hunger, more satisfaction and less desire to eat than those who had a smaller amount of popcorn or chips. Those same popcorn eaters also reported consuming fewer combined calories from the next meal they ate after their snack.

Pretty interesting stuff.

So bring on the popcorn, I say, just keep in mind dousing it in butter and salt pretty much voids any possible health benefits.

***

After stopping by several times, I wrote a pretty nice review of the new B&D Gastropub, a bar-and-grill kinda' place that set up shop in the old Murad's location at the foot of the 35th Street Bridge in Kanawha City.

Several readers have since chimed in, expressing similar support for both the food and drinks offered there.

In addition to some pretty good pub grub, one of the coolest discoveries I made at B&D was the fine microbrews crafted at the North End Tavern & Brewery in Parkersburg.

Although I've heard of the place, I'm much more familiar with Bridge Brew Works and Mountain State Brewing Co. and just haven't had the opportunity to sample North End's fine creations. That all changed with the opening of B&D, currently the only place in Charleston to carry them.

All North End beers are hand-crafted on site from all-natural ingredients, including the finest barley malts, cereal grains, hops, yeast - and West Virginia spring water. Styles range from Belgian ales and Czech pilsners to British porters and light American lagers.

On the dark side, there's a rich and frothy porter with roasted chocolate and black patent malts, or you can lighten things up with crisp golden ale. There's also a berry wheat (with West Virginia blackberries) and an aggressively hopped IPA bringing five select American malts and five unique American hops together in a bold blend.

But the best by far is Roedy's Red. North End's flagship brew is a classic American amber with bold hop and malt characteristics. Traditional two-row and caramel malts create its unique body while Warrior and Amarillo hops give personality to its aroma and finish. This amber ale (think a "hoppy" Killian's) has won statewide competitions, including several People's Choice Awards.

I can see why. It's a beauty!

***

Speaking of beer, the National Beer Wholesalers Association reports that West Virginia's beer distributors generate big business - and big bucks - for the state each year.

According to the group:

* West Virginia beer distributors directly employ 898 people and generate $246 million in total economic impact.

* When the combined impacts of distributor operations, capital investment and community involvement are considered, the total number of West Virginia jobs created exceeds 1,812.

* West Virginia beer distributor activities contribute $54 million to the federal, state and local tax bases.

* Plus another $66 million in federal, state and local alcohol excise and consumption taxes are collected from beer sold in West Virginia each year.

Contact writer Steven Keith at dailymailfoodguy@aol.com or 304-348-1721. You can also follow him on Facebook and Pinterest as "DailyMail Food Guy," on Twitter as "DMFoodGuy" or read his blog at http://blogs.dailymail.com/foodguy.


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