Since I’m basing my research on the U.S., chronic diseases and their relation to diet, I thought I’d provide some basic info on the status quo.
I’m going to refer to what Americans eat as the SAD (Standard American Diet – very sad), which can also be called the meat-sweet diet, as it’s constituted mainly of (sweet) refined grains and meat. It’s also characterized by a high intake of fat (whether fat is always bad is something I’ll explore here later on) and sweet beverages.
According to one article (published in the Lancet), less than 25% of Americans consume adequate amounts of fruit and vegetables (5 a day), despite the campaign “5 A Day for Better Health” that was implemented in 1991 (which caused a rise in proportion from 19% to 23% over 14 years). On average, Americans consume half the amount of f&v as recommended by the US Dietary Guidelines. An article from American Family Physician reported that the proportions of the SAD diet is as follows:
None of these ratios are in line with the current recommendations from the FDA. Carbs are too few, while fat and protein intake is too high. Of course, the quantity of these components is far from the whole story; we need to be at least, if not more, concerned about the quality.
Another aspect to take into consideration is the total amount of energy consumed, which is measured in kcal. Research has shown that those who consume less calories than what is advised live longer lives. The present recommendation is approximately 2200 kcal. How much do Americans consume, on average?
To be continued.