Unhappy woman suffering from stomachache, sitting on bed

A woman with a stomachache (© Prostock-studio - stock.adobe.com)

NEW YORK — Is it time to opt for the “early bird special” when it comes to dinner? A new survey finds six in 10 Americans regularly wake up with food hangovers or stomach cramps.

A poll of 2,000 people finds, on average, Americans will have nine of these morning stomach cramps every month due to late-night meals. Nearly half the survey (49%) don’t realize how their diet will affect their body in the morning until it’s too late.

Could our dinner timing play a role in our early morning regrets?

The average American doesn’t eat dinner until 7 p.m., but one in every five Americans eats late-night dinners between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. For many, this type of discomfort may result from food intolerance. In fact, 41 percent of Americans say they suffer from some type of food allergy or intolerance.

The most common food sensitivities include having a gluten intolerance (54%), caffeine allergy (45%), high fructose corn syrup allergy (43%), or lactose intolerance (36%). Despite this, two-thirds of people with a food intolerance still willingly eat foods they shouldn’t because they like the food too much.

Disregarding the doctor when it comes to food

food hangoverThe OnePoll survey, commissioned by Meatless Farm, also finds over half the poll (51%) have been told their diet will lead to bad health and lifestyle diseases. These Americans are most at risk of lifestyle diseases like high cholesterol (45%), type 2 diabetes (38%), and kidney stones (35%). More than three-quarters (77%) of this group have not made any changes to their diets since getting a health warning.

As for why Americans won’t make any changes, 40 percent said they like their unhealthy foods too much, 25 percent said their family or partner makes those foods too often, 21 percent say they feel fine, and seven percent simply don’t trust their doctor. More than two in five people (43%) actively ignore what their doctor says unless it’s an emergency or it becomes critical to their life.

“There is a direct correlation between highly processed meat and the risk of developing serious lifestyle diseases,” says Morten Toft Bech, the founder of Meatless Farm, the plant-based food company, in a statement. “Alongside our environmental mission, helping people eat healthier while enjoying their favorite dishes is exactly why we started Meatless Farm. It’s all about balance and inspiring small changes.”

More Americans moving away from meat

food hangoverWhen it comes to their diet, people are hesitant to change. Nearly six in 10 said they could never give up their favorite foods, even when their health is on the line. Respondents said they could especially never give up mac n’ cheese (45%), butter (40%), or pizza (40%). Yet even the most stubborn eaters can come around to changing their ways, as long as there’s an alternative available. Two-thirds (65%) would be willing to let go of unhealthy foods if they could count on something both healthier and just as tasty.

When asked whether or not they would switch to a more plant-based diet, just three in 10 (29%) said they wouldn’t consider changing. These respondents said they worry about not getting enough nutrients (46%), alternatives not tasting the same (42%), and alternatives being too expensive (42%).

However, six in 10 (62%) recognize how their diet can negatively impact their body and how they feel. Similarly, 60 percent believe that by reducing their meat intake and eating more plant-based foods, they can combat lifestyle diseases and begin to feel healthier. Seven in 10 Americans (71%) are already considering diets that reduce their meat intake.

“People want to eat more plant-based meat alternatives, however, there’s a knowledge gap when it comes to protein that isn’t from animals,” says Toft Bech. “It’s about more than burgers. We need to inspire a broader swatch of Americans that not only do plant-based alternatives help combat against lifestyle diseases and help the environment, but they are also delicious. Food is an essential part of daily American life and plant-based meat is set to play a huge part in igniting a new food culture from east to west. It will happen more quickly than many think.”

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

Our Editorial Process

StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

Our Editorial Team

Steve Fink


Chris Melore


Sophia Naughton

Associate Editor