How many times a day do you eat?
If you answered about 5 or more, you're in line with the average number of daily meals and snacks consumed by US adults in 2006, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, who studied surveys of daily eating habits over a 30-year period.
In 1977, Americans were only consuming 3.8 meals and snacks per day.
Nutritionists now encourage eating more meals throughout the day -- about six per day -- to lose weight and maintain healthy eating habits, so why were the subjects in this survey gaining weight?
Because they were not only eating more frequently, they were also consuming more calories with each meal or snack, reports Reuters.
The survey found Americans were consuming 570 more calories a day in 2006 than they did in the late 1970s. And they were consuming 220 more calories in sugar-sweetened soft drinks.
A lead researcher told Reuters a profileration of food availability and a decline in regular mealtimes may be to blame for the shifting pattern.
"People aren't sitting down to three meals anymore," said Kiyah Duffey. "We sort of think about eating all through the day."
So if you go the route of eating more meals in your day, make sure you're getting the filling and nutritious foods -- not high-calorie, fatty stuff.
"Don't eat seven times a day if what you're eating is a salty snack or a pizza," said Duffey. "If you're going to do that, reach for an apple instead."