changed in America over the past 40 years? More women have
entered the work force; we eat more meals away from home; we
drink more soda, flavored coffees and other sweetened
beverages; and more Americans are overweight than at any time
in our history.
this period, we have also relaxed our traditional norms of
eating, say researchers in a detailed study on this topic in
the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. As
society has changed, we have modified when, where and how much
we eat. And these trends may offer some clues to our current
health woes. Here are some highlights:
data over the past four decades, specifically between 1971 and
2010, show that fewer Americans now eat three main meals —
breakfast, lunch, and dinner — each day. Yet we tend to
consume more calories in the meals that we do eat.
eat fewer calories at breakfast and lunch; and we consume more
calories from snacks; almost a fourth of our total daily
calories now come from the snacks that we eat. We especially
consume more calories from snacks between lunch and dinner as
well as in the evening after dinner.
the interval between our dinner time and the time we eat an
evening snack has become shorter. In other words, we start
raiding the kitchen sooner after dinner than we did in the
years since 1971.
see any relationships here? Although these researchers did not
find huge differences in our eating habits over these past
decades, they point to some studies that show greater weight
gains in people who eat more calories late in the day. And
interestingly, during these years of changing social norms,
they found greater differences in snacking behaviors in women
than they did in men.
we are. We can’t set back the clock; but perhaps this is a
good time to make regular meals, spaced appropriately
throughout the day, a priority. If weight loss is a goal, cut
back on the snacks, especially those hunted down later in the
day. And when you can, sit down to eat a meal together…at