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Snacks as an element of energy intake and food consumption

Abstract

Background:

An increasing frequency of snacks has been observed in meal pattern studies. Snacks can alter the diet because of their high-energy density and low-nutrient content or on the contrary.

Objective:

The prominence of snacks in energy intake and food consumption was assessed.

Design:

Dietary data were collected for 2007 adults by using a computer-assisted 48-h dietary recall in the national FINDIET 2002 survey. Energy intakes and food consumption were aggregated for snacks and for main meals.

Results:

Daily energy was mostly derived from main meals comprising traditional mixed dishes, milk and bread. However, a snack-dominating meal pattern was observed in 19% of men and 24% of women. This meal pattern was associated with urbanization in both genders and with physical work in men. Higher sucrose intake and lower intake of micronutrients were typical of the snack-dominating meal pattern compared to the others.

Conclusions:

As snacks appear to have a higher energy density and a lower content of micronutrients than main meals, a snack-dominating meal pattern is inadvisable. However, further studies are needed to examine the association between meal pattern and health status.

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Correspondence to M-L Ovaskainen.

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Guarantor: M-L Ovaskainen.

Contributors: M-LO contributed to study design, analysis and writing. HR contributed to data collection and writing. HT contributed to data analysis and writing. M-LH contributed to data analysis and writing. TK contributed to study design and data collection. HP contributed to study design, data collection and writing.

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Ovaskainen, ML., Reinivuo, H., Tapanainen, H. et al. Snacks as an element of energy intake and food consumption. Eur J Clin Nutr 60, 494–501 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602343

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602343

Keywords

  • snack
  • main meal
  • eating frequency
  • energy intake
  • food consumption

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