FRIDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Snacking accounts for 25
percent of the calories consumed by Americans each day and
beverages account for half of those snacking calories, a new study
Since the 1970s, snacking has grown to become a "fourth meal"
that averages 580 calories per day, said Richard D. Mattes, a
professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University, in West
Because many Americans don't think about calories in beverages,
they're less likely to take those calories into account, he
The study also found that secondary eating (consumption while
doing another activity) increased from 15 minutes per day in 2006
to nearly 30 minutes in 2008, and secondary drinking rose from 45
minutes to 85 minutes per day.
During that same period, the time spent eating primary meals
(breakfast, lunch and dinner) remained steady at 70 minutes.
The study was presented recently at the annual meeting of the
Institute of Food Technologists in New Orleans.
The American Academy of Family Physicians explains how to make
healthy food choices.