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Waiting that Extra Hour to Eat Could Make You Fat

According to a new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Economic Research Service, healthy eating habits can quickly be derailed by stress, hunger and demanding schedules.

This recent research indicates that people are more likely to eat unhealthy meals and consume greater calories when experiencing longer gaps between meals, eat away from home, or work longer hours.

The study tested a model built by the USDA based on data from several previous surveys. It was designed to measure how people's long term health objectives were affected by short term situations like a lack of free time, hunger, and stress.

Using the model, researchers analyzed the diets of people who consumed an average of 2,000 calories per day. They found that when the time between meals increased from four to five hours people consumed 52 more calories. Waiting six hours per meal was associated with a 91 calorie increase. Researchers also noted that the extended time between meals coupled with high stress levels increased this negative affect.

This study shows that our best intentions are sometimes hindered by time constraints which can lead to less healthy eating options. Planning is an important step to making sure your long term goals are not being sabotaged by daily realities. Preparing meals to take to work, sticking to a schedule, keeping healthy snacks around and allowing time for healthy meals are all good ways to stay on the right track.
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