Fast Facts: Americans' Eating Habits

The USDA reports that to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people would need to substantially lower their intake of added fats, refined grains, sodium, along with added sugars and sweeteners, and increase their consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk and milk products.1

Some American eating habits over the past few decades include:

More Calories

Bigger Portion Sizes

More Sugar

More Dietary Fat

A Major Increase in Eating Out

Notes

1 Wells HF and Buzby JC. Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption, 1970-2005. Economic Information Bulletin No. 33. Washington, D.C.: Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2008.

2 Ford ES and Dietz WH. Trends in energy intake among adults in the United States: Findings from NHANES. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 97(4): 848-53, 2013.

3 Piernas C and Popkin BM. Trends in Snacking Among U.S. Children. Health Affairs, 29(3): 398-404, 2010.

4 Ervin RB, Ogden CL. Trends in intake of energy and macronutrients in children and adolescents from 1999-2000 through 2009-2010. NCHS Data Brief, no 113. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2013.

5 Nielsen SJ and Popkin BM. Patterns and Trends in Food Portion Sizes, 1977-1998. Journal of the American Medical Association, 289(4): 450-53, 2003.

6 Welsh JA, Sharma AJ, Grellinger L, Vos MB. Consumption of added sugars is decreasing in the United States. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 94(3): 726-34, 2011.

7 Wang YC, Bleich SN, and Gortmaker SL. Increasing caloric contribution from sugar-sweetened beverages and 100 percent fruit juices among U.S. children and adolescents, 1988-2004. Pediatrics, 121(6): 1604-14, 2008.

8 Loss-Adjusted Food Availability: Spreadsheets - Calories. In U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service (accessed March 2010).

9 Guthrie JF, Lin BH, and Frazao E. "Role of Food Prepared Away from Home in the American Diet, 1977-78 versus 1994-96: Changes and Consequences." Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 34(3):140-50, 2002.

10 Fryar CD and Ervin B. Caloric intake from fast food among adults: United States, 2007-2010. NCHS data brief, no 114. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2013.