According to an analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in December, the average daily intake of American adults increased by about 500 calories between the early 1970s and the early Aughties. For children, it was 350 calories a day more.
That might account for the reported average weight increase of 19 pounds in adults and 9 pound in children.
I started thinking about where those calories come from. Dining out, entree sizes are a proven invitation to overeat. Probably grabbing a juice and super-size muffin with the coffee, ordering an appetizer or ducking into the ice cream place after shopping are also culprits.
But at home, where are the extra calories sneaking in? Probably the extra latte in the morning doesn't help, and neither do the mid-morning yogurt, the hard candies in the afternoon and the square of chocolate after dinner. Or the stroll to the smoothie place, the beer with dinner or the cosmopolitan with the neighbor.
Maybe it's little things that are so delicious you can't help having a bigger portion, like more croutons and freshly grated parmesan on a salad, the extra dollop of hazelnut syrup in coffee, or an bigger wedge of that luxurious Kerry Gold butter (or Devon cream) on the toast.
According to an NPR story, obesity rates are leveling off, but maybe it's because our diets -- or mine, anyway -- are completely saturated with goodies.
When you take a hard look at your daily calories, where are the extras?