A new “report card” on the way Americans eat has just come out. It looks at how far we have come since 1970.
We are eating about 500 more calories a day per person than in 1970. We have a long way to go meet dietary guidelines.
First, there is some good news. We are eating less sugar and other sweeteners. More than we consumed in 1970, but less than we ate in 1999. We are down from 89 pounds of sweets per person in 1970 to 78 pounds per person in 2010.
We are significantly reducing the consumption of trans fats and saturated fats such as margarine and shortening. But we are increasing our intake of total fats from salad and cooking oils.
The average person now annually consumes 20 pounds more in total fat than in 1970. In that year, 15 percent of Americans were obese. Now more than 30 percent of Americans are obese.
Many Americans are trying to eat healthy foods. The trouble is they are eating too much of it. A tablespoon of olive oil has about the same number of calories as a tablespoon of lard and more than a tablespoon of butter or margarine.
The author of the report said, “We never were on a low-fat diet. We increased our fat intake from pizzas, burgers, French fries, baked goods and restaurant foods.”
Add to this the grains we are eating – bread, cereal, pasta, rice, burritos, pizza crust, Paninis, muffins, scones – made mostly from white flour. We cannot just replace white flour and rice with whole grains. We have to cut back on grains as well, period.
The author said, “We need to replace sandwiches with salads, swap starches for veggies, and trade cookies, cupcakes and chips for fresh fruit. We started eating more vegetables, not counting potatoes, in the 1980s, but the rise has stalled.”
The report shows we are still eating more beef and pork than chicken and fish. See how your diet measures up.