Despite some improvements, the average American diet is still high in low-quality carbohydrates and saturated fats. A national cross-sectional study, published in JAMA Network found that the average American diet composed of high amounts of low-quality carbohydrates and saturated fats. But there is a silver lining. Although higher than required, the overall consumption of low-quality carbs has fallen over the years with increasing consumption of high-quality carbohydrates, plant proteins, and polyunsaturated fats.
The wide-ranging study was based on the 9 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey cycles (1999-2016) among adults aged 20 years or older. Carried out in separate phases, these surveys used physical examinations and interviews to assess the health and nutritional intake of the average American. For this study, data on 43 996 adults (51.9% women, mean age 46.9 years) was assessed.
The team found that there is a definite improvement in the macronutrient composition of the average American diet from 1999 to 2016. However, 42% of energy intake still came from low-quality carbohydrates, while the intake of high-quality carbohydrates was lower than 9%. Additionally, consumption of saturated fat was found to be above 10% of energy.