Grades aren't the only numbers students should be worrying about in first year.
A new study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, has found that in over four years, at least 70 per cent of students gain weight, according to Auburn University.
But don't go around saying "I told you so," just yet — turns out the "freshman 15" is actually the freshman 11. The study found that the average weight students had gained was around 5.3 kg or 11.68 pounds.
“While dozens of studies have investigated weight gain during the freshman year of college and have reported on the so called 'freshman 15,' our study is the first to examine changes in weight, body mass index, body composition, and body shape over the four-year college period,” explains Sareen Gropper, a co-author of the study and researcher at Auburn University in Alabama said in a press release.
The study, which polled 131 college students in North America, also found that females were more likely to gain body fat at the end of the year and males were more likely to gain overall weight.
But not all researchers agree. A 2011 study pointed out that the "freshman 15" was nothing more than a myth and students on average only gained between two to three pounds in their first year of post-secondary education. Researchers also argued that weight gain was due to becoming a young adult and not all those late night munchies and classes.
Others say long-term effects should be the concern of the "freshman 15" theory.
"People don't look at this age cohort as closely," said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health, in an article for the Chicago Tribune. "You certainly can find a lot of data showing that kids today under 18, under 19 are becoming more and more obese, [and] they're moving on to college and clearly admission to college doesn't suddenly eliminate those rates of obesity," he added.
At least one in four Canadian adults are obese so all those late night foods, early morning sugar rushes and sitting around in class for hours can't be helping teens in the long-run. Exercising, adding nutritious greens and whole grains to your diet and catching up on your sleep are all healthy ways to maintain your body weight.
Have you experienced the "freshman 15" or 11? Or 3? Let us know in the comments below:
ALSO: 16 ways to naturally boost your energy levels:
Water is a integral part of keeping all the cells in your body hydrated and working at optimum levels, says dietitian Kim Stinson-Burt. Start the day with a tall (at least 500 ml) glass of water as soon as you wake up. "Imagine going an entire work day without drinking. Your body does the equivalent of this every night when you sleep. Many Canadians are starting the day dehydrated, which leads to fatigue very early on in the day.," she says.
When eaten raw and unsalted, almonds are a good source of healthy fats and protein to balance blood sugar levels, Stinson-Burt says. One ounce of almonds (that's about 23) can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
"Rich in complex carbohydrates and protein, quinoa is a highly nutritious grain that keeps you full and energized well into your next meal," she says. For meal options, try warm quinoa with raisins, almonds and cinnamon as a cereal or mix it into your favourite salad for lunch.
Forget caffeine and grab a bar of chocolate. "Dark chocolate energizes by providing an excellent source of iron and magnesium. Make sure it's at least 70 per cent," Stinson-Burt says.
Rich in potassium and B vitamins, bananas help slow down digestion and can keep blood sugar levels stable, Stinson-Burt says.
Replace your cereals with bran. "Bran flakes are full of energy producing B-vitamins, iron, and magnesium. The fibre will also keep you full for longer and stabilize blood sugar levels," Stinson-Burt says.
Salmon is high in essential omega-3 fatty acids that are needed for energy production, brain activity, and circulation as well as maintaining heart health, Stinson-Burt says.
Often as traditional dishes in Asia and the Caribbean, spicy curries made with turmeric, cinnamon, cumin and other spices can boost energy levels with antioxidants, normalize blood sugar levels, and promoting good circulation, Stinson-Burt says.
"Oils that are found in coconuts consists primarily of medium chain triglycerides, which are types of fat that is turned into energy quickly and efficiently," she says. These oils can prevent you from feeling sluggish throughout your day.
Lentils and other legumes -- like chickpeas or kidney beans -- stabilize blood glucose levels and can help prevent a mid afternoon crash, Stinson-Burt says.
Eggs are high in iron and protein to give you sustainable energy throughout the day. "Choline is a type of B-vitamin that is found in eggs that is required for brain function and energy production," she says.
Wheat, kamut, spelt, oats or even brown rice. "No matter which whole grain you go for, the complex carbohydrates, fibre, B-vitamins and iron will keep you energized until your next meal," Stinson-Burt says.
Citrus fruits, like lemons and limes, are rich in Vitamin C which can boost our body's immune system.
Yogurt of all sorts contains probiotics, which are well known for being a key part of healthy digestion, Stinson-Burt says. These probiotics can also help fight a weak immune system and boost your energy levels.
Kale really is a superfood. High in vitamins and minerals, kale is a great energy booster and key source of calcium. "If you want to cook it, make sure to cook it well in oil and balsamic vinegar in order to ensure that all the energy producing vitamins and minerals are easily digestible and absorbed for use in the body," Stinson-Burt says.
Forget coffee and grab a tea. Ginger infused tea is filled with antioxidants and nutrients that can give you an afternoon boost.