Study shows French are sweet on snacks

By Claire Videau

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Epidemiology Obesity Nutrition

The French Nutrinet- Santé study has published its first results on snacking habits and their impact on nutritional balance.

Study shows French are sweet on snacks

The on-going study called Nutrinet- Santé is led by Professor Hercberg at the Research Unit of Nutritional Epidemiology (UREN) at Paris University 13. It looks at the relationship between health, nutrition and eating behaviours and aims to identify disease risk factors linked to nutrition.

Nutrinet is the first cohort study ever undertaken in France using the internet technology to gather its data, over five years. It aims at collecting data from 500, 000 people over the five years timeframe.

According to the first findings, 61% of the participants have admitted that they snack regularly or occasionally. Women are the biggest consumers of cakes, sweets and pastries.

For a regular nibbler, the calorie intake from snacking represents 22.4% of their total calorie intake due to the high consumption of carbohydrates.

The study is also investigating habits by social demographic and geographical location of subjects.

Prof. Hercberg believes this study is an essential step for establishing further dietary recommendations to prevent the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, hyper tension and other lifestyle diseases.

"We want to be in a position to anticipate questions that we don't even ask ourselves today,"​ he said.

He also pointed out that nutrition is not the only key issue to understand diseases risks: "Genetic factors, biological and environmental also play a role".

Government funded

Nutrinet is financed and partnered by the French government, as well as the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) amongst other actors.

176, 000 people have already joined the study and the scientific team in Paris is hoping to get more on board in the next coming weeks due to an intensive recruitment process in Paris until May, 15th.

Anyone aged 18 and over, who can speak French and who has a valid email address is able to join the study.

As part of the monitoring, participants – known as 'Nutrinautes' – receive monthly questionnaires by email on topics as diverse as their food habits, physical activity and health conditions. They are also asked to fill in any extra questionnaires used by researchers to better assess their nutritional and health state.

Although the study is France-based, the Nutrinet team is working closely with French speaking countries such as Belgium and Luxembourg to

Germany and the US are currently undertaking a similar study on a limited population of 200, 000 people.

For more information on the study or take part, visit

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