Location: Food Surveys Research GroupTitle: Late Evening Food and Beverage Consumption by Adults in the U.S.: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2013-2016
Submitted to: Worldwide Web Site: Food Surveys Research Group
Publication Type: Research Technical Update
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/14/2019
Publication Date: 6/18/2019
Citation: Sebastian, R.S., Enns, C.W., Goldman, J.D., Moshfegh, A.J. 2019. Late Evening Food and Beverage Consumption by Adults in the U.S.: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2013-2016. Worldwide Web Site: Food Surveys Research Group. Available: https://www.ars.usda.gov/nea/bhnrc/fsrg/wweia/dbrief.
Interpretive Summary: Eating and drinking late in the day is a topic of recent interest because it has been associated with obesity and related health problems. However, current information about food and beverage consumption in the U.S. during this time of day is lacking. We used nationwide survey data to study eating and drinking by adults age 20 years and over during the late evening hours (between 8:00 pm and 11:59 pm). In general, anyone who reported any late evening consumption was considered a “reporter,” and anyone who did not was considered a “non-reporter.” The single exception was that individuals who reported only plain water during the late evening were considered non-reporters. We found that two-thirds (67%) of all adults consumed a food or beverage other than plain water in the late evening. Late evening consumption was more common among younger than among older adults and among non-Hispanic blacks than among non-Hispanic whites. Reporters had a higher total daily energy intake than non-reporters. Contributions of late evening consumption to intakes of most nutrients were similar to its contribution to energy (24% for men; 22% for women); however, its contribution to alcohol was about twice as high. In the late evening, the most commonly consumed foods were snacks and sweets, and the most commonly consumed beverage was water. This new look at late evening consumption can inform policymakers, dietitians, nutritionists, and consumers about the role currently played by late evening eating in the dietary intake of the U.S. population.
Technical Abstract: Some recent studies have found obtaining a higher proportion of energy intake late in the day to be associated with a higher risk of obesity and related metabolic alterations. However, current information about food and beverage consumption in the U.S. during the late evening hours is lacking. The objectives of this study were to characterize late evening consumption among U.S. adults, including its prevalence and contributions to energy and nutrients, and to compare energy intakes between late evening reporters and non-reporters. One day of dietary intake from 9,861 individuals age 20 years and over participating in What We Eat in America, NHANES 2013-2016 was analyzed. Pregnant and lactating women were excluded. Late evening intake was defined as any food or beverage consumption that commenced between 8:00 pm and 11:59 pm. An individual who reported any late evening intake was considered a “reporter,” and anyone who did not was considered a “non-reporter.” The single exception was that those who reported only plain water during the late evening were considered non-reporters. Analysis of variance and/or two-sided t-tests were used to compare percentages reporting late evening consumption by selected demographic variables and to compare energy intakes between reporters and non-reporters. Logistic regression was used to identify linear trends in late evening consumption by age. On any given day, 67% of adults in the U.S. consume a food and/or beverage other than plain water in the late evening. Though prevalence of late evening consumption did not vary by sex, it was higher among non-Hispanic blacks than among non-Hispanic whites, and an inverse linear trend in prevalence by age was observed (p<0.001). Total daily energy intake was 329 kilocalories higher, on average, for reporters than for non-reporters. Late evening foods/beverages contributed a substantial proportion of energy to total daily intakes of reporters (24% for males and 22% for females) and comparable proportions of all other nutrients studied, with the exception of alcohol (43% and 47%, respectively). The most frequently consumed food group in the late evening was snacks and sweets (48% of reporters), and the most frequently consumed beverage group was water (35% of reporters). Consuming foods and beverages late in the day is common among U.S. adults. This report can inform nutrition guidance efforts to improve adults’ choices made during this time of day and thus enhance overall dietary intake.