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Smokers Skip Meals 2X More Often! How Does it Affect Their Weight?

Daniel Kim Views  

A study has found that smokers tend to gain less weight than non-smokers, possibly due to their lower food intake and less healthy eating habits.

On the 13th, a research team from Loughborough University and the University of Leicester in the UK presented the results at the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) conference (ECO) held in Venice, Italy. The research team analyzed the relationship between smoking and dietary habits in over 80,000 UK adults and found that smokers tended to eat less and have a less sound dietary regime than non-smokers.

The research team suggested that these discoveries could help explain the phenomenon of smokers tend to gain weight after quitting and underscored the importance of providing nutritional and weight management support to those attempting to quit smoking.

Smokers typically have lower body weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) than non-smokers. Smoking is often associated with weight gain, and some studies suggest that smoking can be used for weight control and appetite suppression.

While there is evidence of the effect of nicotine suppressing appetite and influencing eating behaviors, the research team explained that the relationship between smoking and nutritional habits is obscure.

For this study, the team analyzed data from 83,781 adults aged 18 and over, collected through the health assessment program of the UK medical charity Nuffield Health from 2004 to 2022. The researchers investigated the correlation between smoking, eating habits, and dietary behaviors.

Among the participants, 6,454 were smokers, and 73,327 were non-smokers. The participants completed questionnaires about their age, gender, socioeconomic status, smoking status, and usual eating habits, and their BMI was also measured.

The analysis showed that, even when factors such as age, gender, and socioeconomic status were excluded, smokers were 2.16 times more likely to skip meals and 50% more likely to go without eating for over three hours than non-smokers.

Additionally, smokers were 35% less likely to snack between meals, 19% less likely to consume food for comfort or mood enhancement, and 14% less likely to digest out of boredom. They were also 8-13% less likely to consume sweet foods between meals or as desserts.

On the other hand, smokers were 8% more likely to consume fried foods, 70% more likely to add salt to their food, and 36% more likely to add sugar. They were also 19% more likely to have difficulty leaving food uneaten.

The research team noted that these tendencies were stronger in older people than in younger individuals, and the likelihood of adding salt and sugar to food was higher in men than in women, suggesting male smokers may be more susceptible to less healthy eating habits. Dr. Scott Willis, the lead researcher from Loughborough University, said, “Concerns about weight gain are a common reason why smokers do not attempt to quit or fail in their attempts.”He added, “According to our research results, smoking is associated with a type of eating habit that corresponds to reduced food intake and lower quality of meals, characterized by frequent consumption of fried foods and the addition of salt and sugar to meals. This could help explain the common observation of weight gain when people quit smoking.”

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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