Nearly 100 million Americans are watching their diet to lose weight or to maintain their current weight. The eating habits of these calorically-conscientious consumers have changed significantly in the past five years. The percentage of consumers out to lose weight who eat several small meals a day, often snack between meals and usually only snack on healthy foods has increased between 2009 and 2014. The percentage of those who seek to maintain their weight and who eat several small meals and usually only snack on healthy foods has grown even faster.

The highest priority for those taking steps to lose weight is to get control of their snacking habits. Two in three (66%) limit how much they eat when they snack and 62% set boundaries on how often they snack. By comparison, the idea of eating smaller or moderate portions at mealtimes does not rank high on the list of actions for dieters even though overeating at meals ranked fourth on the list of reasons why overweight adults believe they are overweight. Only 33% say they are taking this step to lose weight.

“Instead of controlling what they eat at mealtimes, today’s consumers focus on changing their snacking habits in order to achieve weight loss success, a strategy that reflects the increasing importance of snacking in America today,” says Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle.

Besides controlled snacking and the obvious necessary need to exercise, other high-priority weight loss actions involve a range of food monitoring activities. These include checking food labels to avoid high-fat products, high-sugar products and high-sodium products as well as limiting the use of processed foods.

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