Most U.S. Adults Consume an Extra Meal’s Worth of Calories Through Daily Snacking

According to new research, most American adults take snacks after eating their actual meals. These snacks are high in carbs and low in fiber. However, they have lots of calories, which can throw off your diet if you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight.

In addition, scientists discovered through additional surveys involving more than 23,700 American adults above 30 years old that taking snacks in between meals contributed to an extra 400 to 500 calories, more than what many participants originally ate for breakfast.

What Does Daily Snacking Mean for the Average American Adult?

Daily snacking makes it difficult for the average adult to keep track of his calorie intake.
According to scientists on the results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 – 2016 on what participants ate in 24 hours daily, snacks can be taken as a full fourth meal of the day.

The only difference between snacking and eating a well-curated meal is that while an actual meal contains protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and other nutrients in a balanced proportion, snacks mainly contain carbs, fat, and sugar. In addition, the study reported in PLoS Global Public Health that snacks accounted for about one-fifth of the total energy intake of an average American adult.

What Is the Final Verdict on Snacking?

While snacks can adversely affect your diet and nutrition, they can also prevent you from getting hungry between meals. Hence, the scientists involved in the study think that you should avoid not only snacks entirely but also snacks with poor nutrition content.

According to the data, clinicians and dietitians should pay close attention to the amount and quality of snacks consumed. Personalized recommendations for snacking frequency and amount aside, nutrition interventions should center on promoting nutrient-dense snacks, particularly those with higher protein, fiber, and vegetable content. Experts agree that people should drastically reduce their intake of sugary and unrefined carbohydrate snacks.

Fruits like apples, blueberries, pears, and grapes are, thus, the most excellent snack options. Snacking on nuts is also a great way to get a lot of nutrients with few calories.

In summary

Instead of eating unhealthy foods like chips and cookies in between snacks, try eating more nutritious options like fruits and nuts. This will help you maintain the benefits of eating healthy meals and sticking to a diet.