Americans eat so much snack food it counts as extra daily food

Why do so many Americans still take a seat and a half on the bus or train? The villains are snacks, which make up nearly a quarter of a day’s calories and nearly a third of daily added sugar in American adults.

are publishing their findings in PLoS Global Public Health Under the title “Snacks contribute significantly to total dietary intake among adults stratified by glycemia in the United States,” the team led by Christopher Taylor, a medical dietetics professor at The Ohio State University’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, surveyed 23,708 adults. Analyzed the data. Aged 30 who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2016. The survey collects 24-hour dietary details from each participant – detailing not only what, but also when, all foods were consumed.

People unconsciously make 200 food-related decisions every day. There is an average of five or six eating occasions per day (three main meals + two or three snacks), which suggests that many of these food decisions may be related to snacks.

They found that Americans get an average of about 400 to 500 calories from snacking each day—often more than the calories they consume at breakfast—and that these sweet or salty junk foods provide little nutritional value.

Serious Health Risks of Eating Too Much Snack Food

Although dietitians are very aware of Americans’ tendency to snack, “the magnitude of the effect is not realized until you actually see it,” he wrote. “Snacks are actually contributing a meal’s worth of food to what we eat without food,” Taylor said. “You know what dinner will be: a protein, a side dish or two. But if you eat the same food you eat for breakfast, it becomes a completely different scenario of carbohydrates, sugars, not too much protein, not much fruit, not vegetables – so it’s a completely complete meal. Not there.

A blood glucose test is performed to check sugar levels in a patient with type 2 diabetes (Credit: Darryl Leja/NIH/Flickr)

They found that participants who were controlling their type 2 diabetes ate less sugary foods and snacked less than participants without diabetes and whose blood sugar levels indicated they were prediabetic.

“It seems like diabetes education is working, but we may need to scale back education for people who are at risk for diabetes and even those with normal blood sugar levels,” Taylor said. “Also for people, so that improvements in dietary behavior can start before people develop chronic disease.”


The respondents were classified according to their HbA1c levels – a measure of glucose control, into four groups: nondiabetes, prediabetes, controlled diabetes and poorly controlled diabetes. Across the entire survey sample, the share of snacks in total energy intake ranged from 19.5% to 22.4%, while the contribution of nutrients was much lower.

In descending order of proportion, snacks include those high in carbohydrates and fats, sweets, alcoholic beverages, non-alcohol beverages including sugar-sweetened beverages, proteins, milk and dairy, fruits, grains and – lagging behind – vegetables. Are.

Taylor explained that, although capturing 24-hour food consumption doesn’t necessarily reflect how people typically eat, “it gives us a really good snapshot of a large number of people.” “And that can help us understand what’s going on, where nutritional deficiencies may be and what education we can provide.”

“We need to move from less added sugar to more healthy snacking patterns,” he said. “Removing added sugars will not automatically improve vitamin C, vitamin D, phosphorus and iron, and if we remove refined grains, we lose the nutrients that come with fortification.

“When you take something out, you have to put something back in, and replacement becomes as important as removal.

“We think about what we are going to pack for lunch and what we will cook for dinner. But we don’t plan our breakfast like this – so again you are at the mercy of what’s available in your environment.

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