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American diet falls short in providing adequate nutrition

Posted Apr 02 2012 1:47pm

A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition, titled “Americans Do Not Meet Federal Dietary Recommendations” by Susan M. Krebs-Smith, et al concludes: over 80% of people over the age of 71 and over 90% of all other sex-age groups had intakes of empty calories - solid fats, added sugars and alcoholic beverages – that exceeded the discretionary calorie allowances and nearly the entire U.S. population consumes a diet that is not on par with recommendations. Just in case you are clueless about nutrition - nutrition is what fuels your body. It is required to stay alive and to be healthy.

While the above statement from the study is alarming and concerning, the study goes on to state:

“When the same index of diet quality has been applied at a macro level, it is clear that the U.S. food supply has provided an overabundance of solid fats, added sugars, and sodium, and insufficient fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and milk over at least the last several decades(28).”

This is a very powerful study for those of you interested in the research. The average parent is too busy to be reading medical research studies – I get it. Families are struggling to get the children to school, after school sports and activities, doing homework, working themselves. I’m in the same boat – working, home schooling, involved in Toastmasters and other activities. The one big difference is that my youngest child, my daughter, has suffered from pretty severe malnutrition. This was not caused by lack of a healthy diet, but rather from elevated secretory IgA. Not a problem most Americans will deal with. However, as a result of Anne’s malnutrition – I made a conscious decision over six years or so ago that my children would eat more fruits and vegetables.

I am confident that if I had not experienced such severe health issues with my youngest child that I would be feeding my children like most American parents. On almost a daily basis one of my children will ask “What are we having for dinner?” My typical response is “What have you had to eat for breakfast and lunch?” The reason for my response is that if my children have not eaten a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables for the day – that is exactly what they will have for dinner.

They eat soups that are loaded with vegetables and I mean loaded. They will eat veggie burgers that are obviously made from vegetables including a good dose of greens. They also drink smoothies and eat both cooked and raw vegetables. This did not happen overnight. It was a gradual process. The important aspect for today’s parents and consumers is to make a commitment to change your diet. Add one piece of fruit or one vegetable each day. After a few weeks, add a second fruit or vegetable. The more you think about it, the more ways you will find to get fruits and vegetables and other nutrient dense foods into your diet and the diet of your loved ones.

I speak about this topic a great deal. Here is a link to a YouTube video I did to help parents get their kids to eat healthier:

If you don't have kids, but hope to - this is really a topic that you want to pay attention to! Let me know how I can help you increase your nutrition! I'd love to get your comments and questions! 


28. Krebs-Smith Smith SM, Reedy J, Bosire C. Healthfulness of the U.S. food supply: little improvement despite decades of dietary guidance. Am J Prev Med 2010: 38:472-7.

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