As time goes on, America’s waistline continues to expand. In the age of fast-moving technology, people are moving slower and less often, with far too many becoming couch potatoes munching their way into obesity. Let’s face it. People are eating more, as well as eating more often, and now there’s a study to back it up. The details of the analysis appear in the June issue of the journal PLoS Medicine.
Barry Popkin, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with his co-author, have found that it’s the number of snacks and meals that people are eating—not simply portion size of foods consumed each day—that are serving to boost caloric intake to just under 2,400 calories daily. How much is eaten, and how often, contributes to the continuous increase in the American waistline.
The study found that over the past three decades, Americans have increased from partaking of 3.8 snacks and meals daily to an average of 4.9, accounting for an dramatic rise of 29 percent.
In addition, the average portion size has increased by around 12 percent, while in contrast, energy density, which is average number of calories per 1-gram serving of food, has actually declined over the 30-year period, meaning that foods rich in calories have had little to do with the obesity epidemic.
Popkin noted, “The real reason we seem to be eating more is we’re eating often.” He then added, “The frequency of eating is probably, for the average overweight adult, becoming a huge issue.”
Popkin pointed out that a much of the culpability for endless munching can be placed on food advertising as well as other marketing. He says, “It’s all about making people think they want to have something in their hands all the time. It’s there, it’s available all the time, it’s tasty. It’s not very healthy, but it’s tasty. It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s fatty—it’s all the things we love.”