Getty Images

This Might Be The Real Reason You Gained All That Weight In College

The freshman 15 might not be due to marijuana, beer or general laziness, but rather the disastrous food offered on campuses.

According to Mashable, a new study examined all the food available at California Polytechnic State University and concluded a frighteningly small amount of the entrees and salads could be considered healthy.

Between March and August of 2015, researchers studied the calories and fat levels of the school's 18 on-campus dining venues, two on-campus food stores and 37 food stores near campus.

For an entree or main dish salad to be deemed healthy, each could contain up to 800 calories, whereas burgers and sandwiches could contain 650 calories or less to earn the same label.

Additionally, they required "healthy" dishes to contain no more than 30 percent of calories from fat and 10 percent of calories or less from saturated fat.

Just nine of the 18 on-campus dining venues were reportedly discovered to offer entrees that fit this criteria.

Out of the 314 entrees studied, just 36 could be considered healthy, along with 11 of 31 salads offered as main dishes.

The campus's sit-down restaurants were found to be the least healthy dining venues, while the two on-campus food stores were found to have a number of healthy options.

Not only did these two stores offer plenty of produce, but they also did not price low-fat items higher than the unhealthier versions of the same things.

In the study, the researchers suggested ways the school could improve student health.

They wrote,

[Areas] include increasing the proportion of healthful entrees overall, improving the variety of healthful side dishes and beverages, making nutrition information available at point of purchase and providing signage and implementing pricing strategies to facilitate more healthful eating choices.

In terms of the freshman 15, it makes sense first-year students are likely to gain weight when you consider how easy it is to consume unhealthy food.

Living in an entirely new environment can be very unsettling, which could be why lots of students turn to readily available unhealthy on-campus food.

Citations: Your freshman 15 might not have been entirely your fault, according to new case study (Mashable), Assessment of a University Campus Food Environment, California, 2015 (Preventing Chronic Disease)