Freshman Fifteen: True or False?

We’ve all heard the myth of the “Freshman 15,” the notion that college freshmen put on 15 pounds the first year of school. Recent studies find that some first-year students are indeed likely to gain weight — but it might not be 15 pounds and it may not all happen during freshman year.

Students who are away from home for the first time do need to take control of their diet and make healthy choices to avoid weight gain. Studies have found that not only is what you eat important, it is also when you eat that can make a difference.

Some sensible advice:

  • Don’t skip breakfast. Students who oversleep and rush to class often skip the first meal. The problem is that they are hungrier by lunch time and tend to overeat.
  • Eat an early lunch. A new study suggests that dieters who eat lunch early lose more weight than those who eat a late lunch. Researchers in Spain found that those who ate lunch earlier in the day lost an average of 22 pounds in 20 weeks; those who ate lunch later lost about 17 pounds.The late eaters consumed fewer calories during breakfast and were more likely to skip breakfast than early eaters.
  • Don’t eat too many calories late in the day. That bedtime snack can put you over the top.