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chronic health conditions
rising health care
cause of obesity
obesity in america
adjunct professor
calorie counts
health care costs
common foods
portion sizes
food group
life expectancy
Americans Are Snacking Their Way To Fat
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Americans Are Snacking Their Way to Fat

The research studies are confusing and contradictory. According to one, snacks are not the leading cause of obesity in America but according to another, snacks are one of the main reasons that we are all getting bigger. The one thing that the studies are able to agree on, something has to be done and done quickly. Obesity in America as well as the rest of the world is skyrocketing out of control, causing chronic health conditions, rising health care costs and early deaths. According to a new report by the CDC, the current generation of youth in America is the first in years with a lower life expectancy rate.

In the mid 2000’s the average adult ate just over 2300 calories every day which is roughly one third more than the adults were eating several decades earlier. In the same study, researchers found that in addition to the increased calorie counts, there was an increased number of meals consumed each day, going from 3.8 meals to 4.9 meals each day. And, while critics are quick to point out the increased calorie counts and portion sizes, the latter only increased 12% in those years.

There have been studies that have said that the number of snacks each day is caused not by increased hunger but by the continued onslaught of food advertising in the media as well as the increased availability of foods of every type. Portion sizes have increased, despite the claims by this study, according to Lisa Young, Ph.D, an adjunct professor and best selling author. In her book, The Portion Teller, Young describes how the most common foods in every food group have increased in size, some as much as five times bigger than they were when they were first introduced. She also describes in detail how the size of plates and other items can increase our willingness to overeat.

Additional information revealed by the research study includes the shortened time between meals and snacks. Again, conflicting information is at play here with some experts advocating eating every two to three hours and others saying that we are eating far too frequently. The problem may not actually be the timing of the meals but what we are calling “snacks”. Most experts do agree that a snack should be 200 calories or less with the average snack on many American’s diets coming in at over five hundred, higher than the typical, prescribed full meal.

Timing may play a role in the problems with snacking as well, with more people eating these over sized snacks/meals too close to going to bed which may interfere with their sleep patterns and may slow their metabolism down. Experts suggest not eating two hours before bed time, keeping the last of the night on the small size and making it a complex carbohydrate, protein combination. A good rule of thumb is if you are waking up in the morning still full from the night before, you eat too much or you ate too late.

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