It goes without saying that American people love to snack. At almost any place you can think of – while watching a movie at the cinema, at the desk while you work, while you are watching TV or even while you are driving around in your car. Eventually it gets to the point where there’s almost no time in the day when you aren’t eating.
Unfortunately, the problem of snacking between meals has increased hugely over the last thirty years. A new study has found that snacking has essentially become the fourth meal eaten every day. This can result in 580 extra calories consumed per day. And interestingly, most of these come from beverages – perhaps you should consider drinking more water for weight loss. The same study tells us that this could be a huge influence on the expanding waistlines of America.
By analyzing data from four different surveys that were conducted between 1977 and 2006, this study has found that over the last 30 years, Americans have gone from eating 3.8 meals a day to 4.9 meals a day. That’s a 29% increase. Today, the average American consumes 2 375 calories per day, one third more than the average American in the 1970s.
At the same time, portion sizes have increased as well, but only by 12% – this does not account then for the increase in caloric intake. It appears that snacking, that late-afternoon guilty pleasure is coming back to haunt us all. The data collected tells us that if everyone is eating the traditional three meals per day – the rate of snacking has doubled.
It seems to be that snacking has increased so dramatically because of the easy availability of food. It is everywhere. Just think of your office. Do you have easily accessible vending machines, selling junk? Is there a bowl of candy on your front desk? Do your co-workers offer you muffins and other such nice things every time you have coffee? What about cookies? It is getting to the point where it’s harder and harder for us to get away from food. It follows us everywhere. A few little sugary snacks can result in a whole lot of unnecessary calories.
Think of how ubiquitous food has become. If you go into a drugstore, a place that is designed to keep you well and healthy, the chances are that you will be confronted with sugary snack foods. Candy bars, sodas, potato chips, cookies – you cannot get away.
What it boils down to is eating healthily. Snacking is not wrong, but you need to try and make the right decisions where you can. If you can learn to control your snack binges and prepare healthy snacks ahead of time, you can do yourself a huge favor in the weight loss game. At the same time – the healthier you eat, the longer you live. Remember that.