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Across the board frequent dining out is one of the leading contributors to extra pounds Restaurant food whether its from McDonalds or Maxims is significantly higher in fat and calories than typical meals prepared at home Since the mid-1980s the average American has spent almost 40 percent of his or her food dollars on meals consumed away from home And in general Americans today are taking in 150 more calories daily than they were 20 years ago according to the American Institute of Cancer Research Thats the equivalent of one 12-ounce can of soda and while that may not sound like much its enough to pack on an extra 15 pounds in one year The good news is that this equation is reversible with a few minor changes Cutting back by just 250 calories a day can make a big difference in the long run Thats equal to a can of soda and less than one small bag of potato chips Add in some daily exercise and youre on your way to being fitter and healthier Doctors and nutritionists recommend 30 minutes of exercise daily such as brisk walking but if you cant fit that in even 10-minute spurts are beneficial Small changes such as parking your car a bit farther away from work or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can add up to better health In addition to increased soft drink consumption the supersize revolution of the 1990s -- during which everything from french fries to frozen dinners swelled to gargantuan sizes -- has no doubt taken a toll on 20-somethings waistlines In fact the foods that are selling best these days also happen to be about the worst for us It probably comes as no surprise that empty calorie foods are also the most aggressively advertised According to the US Department of Agriculture companies spent 765 million advertising candy and gum 728 million
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