Americans love snacks. What does that mean for their health?

This Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 photo shows items in a vending machine in New York. Americans are addicted to snacks, and food experts are paying closer attention to what that might mean for health and obesity.

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans are addicted to snacks, and food experts are paying closer attention to what that might mean for health and obesity.

The rise of snacking has seen packaged bars, chips and sweets spread into every corner of life. In the late 1970s, about 40 percent of American adults said they didn't have any snacks during the day. By 2007, that figure was just 10 percent.

To get a better handle on the implications of differing eating patterns, U.S. health officials are reviewing scientific research on how eating frequency impacts health, including weight gain and obesity.

The analysis is intended to gauge the broader spectrum of possibilities, which could include fasting, grazing and "mini meals."

Findings could be reflected in the government's updated dietary guidelines next year, though any definitive recommendations are unlikely.

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