Every parent knows the temptation of eating up their children's leftovers. But all those bits of ice cream, crisps and other salty snacks are taking their toll.
New research shows it adds up to the equivalent in saturated fat of an entire pepperoni pizza a week.
For the first time researchers have counted up the fat consumed by adults living with children and compared it to the amount eaten by those living in child-free homes.
They found parents eat an extra 5 grams of fat daily - including 1.7 grams of the most unhealthy saturated fat linked to heart disease. That's around one-quarter of the total 'permitted' amount of fat an adult should be eating a day - and equivalent to a pepperoni pizza a week in saturated fat alone.
Living with children also means you are more likely to eat foods such as cheese, ice cream, beef, pizza and salty snacks, says a report in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.
Dr Helena Laroche of the University of Iowa led the study, which looked at questionnaires completed by 6,600 adults living with and without children who were asked about their consumption of high-fat foods.
She said 'Adults' fat intake, particularly saturated fat, is higher for those who live with children compared with those who don't live with children.
'It appears to be a combination of being tempted by the food left over by children and having this kind of food easily available in the home.
'They ate more snacks and convenience foods - and it's probably time pressures that are responsible.
'There's also a perception that children will only eat hot dogs or macaroni and cheese - but once these foods are in their house even if bought for the children, adults appear more likely to eat them' she said.
Dr Laroche said the study showed all adults ate more fat than recommended for a healthy heart.
Healthy eating guidelines recommend no more than 10 per cent of calories a day should come from fat, which means around 20 grams a day at most for someone eating 2,000 calories, she said.
'But adults living with children ate the most fat, including extra saturated fat' she added.
Dr Laroche, who specialises in children's medicine, said the study showed how the family's eating habits were shaped by children's food choices.
She said: 'An important implication of the study is that healthy changes in eating need to focus on the entire household, not just individuals, especially when there is so much obesity among the young.
'Often children demand these less healthy foods but everyone's eating them and it's a pattern we've got to change by helping everyone think more about their dietary choices' she added.
Source: The Daily Mail (UK)
Can we all say Duh! I'm certainly one that indulges in excuses like "not wasting" food. I've had my share of chips, crackers, and other salty high carb snacks!