American Eating Habits Include Excessive Snacking And Ignoring Three Square Meals Rule [Study]

Americans snack all day and rarely eat three square meals per day, according to new data. A mobile app called Viz assisted researchers in gathering information for a study, which shows the poor eating habits in America. The study found that most of what is consumed during that day is just empty calories, and Americans eat for an average of 15 hours out of a 24-hour day. Even more unusual, Americans have proven to skip known essential meals. Study author Satchidananda Panda recently made a statement of her findings to Live Science.

“Most participants thought they don’t eat or drink that regularly outside their breakfast-lunch-dinner routine.”

Due to the fact that most of the eating appeared to be habitual and not necessary, Panda suggest “a simple intervention.” After studying the eating habits of other animals, researchers found that animals who consumed food for 8-12 hours per day were leaner than animals who ate for longer periods. Since human bodies are different, the researchers suggest that Americans fix their habitual eating by limiting the numbers of hours of consumption to less than 12 hours per day.

“It’s not only that people don’t eat three meals a day. They also eat very random items and random combinations of items. For example, a cream-cheese-Cheeto sandwich or rice crispy with spicy trail mix. People are very creative.”

A recent report associates the abuse of food, specifically “junk food,” by Americans is a way to cope with the strenuous work life which is not as common other places in the world. Additional, these busy Americans rarely have time to fit in a well-balanced breakfast which was proven in the study when only 1/4 of the food consumed was before noon. The Salk researchers referred American eating behaviors after 21 days as both irregular and constant. Looking at the study in it’s entirety, the researchers came across some alarming facts about how Americans eat and eventually gain weight.

Based on additional findings in the study, limiting hours of eating is not America’s only eating problem. Americans take in too many calories per day, according to the study. With 150 men and women, ages 21-55, analyzed in the San Diego area, it was discovered that most Americans ate more than the recommended 2,000 calories per day. In fact, the participants consumed an average of 1,947 calories after 9 p.m. alone. It has been suggested that this eating behavior could damage one’s health. Specifically, Americans who eat in the late night are messing up their sleep patterns, according to a researcher at the University of Westminster, named Nelson Chong.

“The circadian clock can modulate metabolism, and food consumption can in turn influence the clock. We have evolved to eat during the daytime. If you eat late at night, the genes that are there to properly process those fats and sugars are not activated at their optimal level.”

Previously, other researcher found that the consumption of caffeine and alcohol after hours had similar effect on the circadian clock. With health being most concerning, eating after 6 p.m. and then going to sleep can result in sleep apnea which can eventually lead to even more weight gain. Scientists have even linked sleep apnea to cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

Lead researcher S. Panda believes that the eating habits of Americans who participated in the study explains that large numbers of obese and overweight Americans. Currently, 70 percent of the U.S. population is either overweight or obese. The study, which is published in the journal Cell Metabolism, showed that after 16 weeks of evaluating the American participants, they gained an average of 7.2 pounds. Lona Sandon, Assistant Professor of Clinical Nutrition asserts that this study comes after years of suspicion about American eating habits.

“Basically this new study helps confirm what we already suspect. Eating sporadically and at all hours is just not good for our health.”

[Image via Getty Images / Ulrich Baumgarten]