Your Snacking Habits Really Do Add Up

Study finds Americans eat roughly a meal's worth of calories in snacks each day
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2023 10:10 AM CST
Updated Dec 23, 2023 11:00 AM CST
Your Snacking Habits Really Do Add Up
   (Getty Images / carotur)

Those snacks you're grabbing between meals add up, or so says a new study out of the Ohio State University. A survey of nearly 24,000 Americans over age 30 indicates our snacking clocks in at an average 400 to 500 calories a day—or between 19.5% and 22.4% of total energy intake—and they're pretty empty calories at that. "Snacks are contributing a meal's worth of intake to what we eat without it actually being a meal," said lead author Christopher Taylor in a press release. "You know what dinner is going to be: a protein, a side dish or two. But if you eat a meal of what you eat for snacks, it becomes a completely different scenario of, generally, carbohydrates, sugars, not much protein, not much fruit, not a vegetable." That makes it, essentially, a meal without the nutritional benefits of a meal.

The surveys occurred over 2005 to 2016 and found the most common snacks were those high in carbohydrates and fats, sweets, alcoholic beverages, and non-alcoholic drinks that included sugar-sweetened beverages. Fruits and vegetables accounted for a paltry "5% of energy from snacking occasions," per the study published in PLOS Global Public Health. It found that those Americans who were trying to control their Type 2 diabetes snacked less in general, and consumed fewer sugary foods, than those without diabetes and those who, based on their blood sugar levels, were prediabetic. Taylor said that indicates diabetes education is working, but he suggests "we might need to bump education back to people who are at risk for diabetes." (More discoveries stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.