Can Boost Calorie
By Sara Kuzmarov
NEW YORK (Reuters
Health) - Skipping meals may seem like a sure way to cut calories
and lose weight, but study findings indicate that it may lead
to increased snacking of sugary foods that can pack on the pounds
in the long run.
of more than 1,500 eighth-grade students found that 20% said they
ate just two meals a day, mostly lunch and dinner. These meal
skippers generally consumed more snacks than their peers did,
the investigators found. And these snacks were generally rich
in simple sugars and salt, and low in fiber.
students were more likely to skip breakfast, suggesting that ``eating
breakfast is not necessarily associated with increased weight,''
Dr. Johanna Dwyer of Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts
and colleagues write.
80% of students ate four or more times per day and the more often
students ate, the more calories they consumed, according to the
report in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic
demonstrate the relationship between adolescents' eating patterns
and nutrient intake and suggest that efforts to promote healthy
eating should target snacking.
``If you want
to change what you eat, look at both how often you eat and the
combination of meals and snacks eaten,'' Dwyer said in an interview
with Reuters Health.
She said that
healthy eating is learned at home and at school. More than three
quarters of students in the study ate their lunch at school and
80% ate dinner at home. Therefore, better food choices by parents
and in school cafeterias can go a long way, Dwyer said.
parents have to be involved in food choices,'' Agnes Kolor, a
registered dietitian, told Reuters Health. She said adolescents
should focus on eating fewer treats, smaller portions and at least
three vegetables and two fruits a day.
results are based on student reports of food intake over a 1-day
period. Students from 96 public schools in San Diego, New Orleans,
Minneapolis and Austin, Texas participated in the study.
The Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2001;101:798-
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