BELTSVILLE, MD. – Snacks provide about one-third of all daily calories from “empty calories,” or those from solid fats and added sugars, according to a “What We Eat in America” dietary survey from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that involved 5,000 adults age 20 and older.

The average intake of empty calories for the men surveyed was 923 calories, which meant men on average are consuming two to three times their limit in the solid fats and added sugars category. The average intake of empty calories for the women surveyed was 624 calories, which meant women are consuming two to four times their limit in that category. The researchers identified added sugars as caloric sweeteners added to foods during processing.

For one positive aspect, snacking provides more than one-third of the total daily fruit intake for men and women. Researchers within the U.S.D.A.’s Food Surveys Research Group in Beltsville examined the dietary intake survey data.