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Americans are snacking an extra meal every day

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One of the golden rules for weight loss is never to snack—but the average American is consuming up to a quarter of his daily calorie intake from sugary treats between meals.

An average American adult is eating around 500 calories a day from unhealthy snacks alone, and that’s often more than he’ll consume for breakfast.  Snacks essentially represent another meal in terms of calorie intake.

The snacks are almost all sugar and have no nutritional value, say researchers from Ohio State University who surveyed 23,708 American adults aged 30 and over for their eating habits over a 24-hour period.  They were categorised into their diabetic status, depending on their glucose, or blood sugar, levels.

Sugary treats are the first step on the road to chronic disease, such as type 2 diabetes, say researchers—and it was noticeable that those who were already diagnosed as diabetic were following a healthier diet that restricted sugary snacks.

Now the message has to be understood by non-diabetics, says lead researcher Christopher Taylor.  “Diabetes education looks like it’s working, but we might need to bump education back to people who are at risk for diabetes and even to people with normal blood glucose levels to start improving dietary behaviours before people develop chromic disease.”

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PLOS Global Public Health, 2023; 3: e0000802
Article Topics: diet, food
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