USDA SAYS AMERICAN ADULTS CALORIE INTAKE IMPROVES BETWEEN 2005 AND 2010.

nina | January 21st, 2014 - 9:00 am

American adults are consuming fewer calories from fat and saturated fat, eating less cholesterol, making better use of nutritional information and eating at home more often, the USDA’s Economic Research Service said.

The study, titled “Changes in Eating Patterns and Diet Quality Among Working-Age Adults, 2005-2010”, analyzed individual dietary intake data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which collects data from a sample of 9,839 individuals that’s designed to be nationally representative.

Between 2005 and 2010, daily caloric intake dropped by 78 calories. This included a 3.3-percent drop in calories from total fat, a 5.9-percent drop in calories from saturated fat, and a 7.9-percent drop in cholesterol intake.

Overall fiber intake rose by 1.2 grams a day, or 7.5 percent; her data doesn’t show if the increased fiber intake is due to consumption of more fruits and vegetables.  This will take further research.

Consumers are also using nutritional information more often, with 42 percent of working-age adults and 57 percent of older adults reporting that they use the nutrition facts panel most or all of the time when they make food choices. The Food and Drug Administration plans to propose a new nutrition facts panel soon.

Some 76 percent of working-age adults said they would use nutrition information posted in restaurants if it were available.

Dining out
Consumers are dining out less frequently. During the five year period, food away from the home (FAFH) dropped from 35 percent of daily calories to 30 percent. Todd’s analysis found that reduced consumption of FAFH accounted for less than 20 perfect of the improvements in diet quality. (For the purposes of this study, “at-home foods” included foods purchased at a grocery store or via mail order as well as foods grown or caught by the individual or someone he or she knows. All other foods are classified as “food away from the home.”)

The study measures fast food as a subset of FAFH; daily fast food calories fell by 53 over the course of the study.

As the recession fades, it is expected that consumption of FAFH will rise again. It meets a need in peoples’ busy lives. However, because consumers are focusing on nutrition information more, diet quality will rebound or become worse to the same degree.

Overall impact
These are encouraging findings, noting that both the public and private sectors have launched initiatives related to improving the American diet. While the habits of most Americans fall short of the recommendations of the dietary guidelines…there seems to be progress.

This study is yet another indication that there is a major shift underway in this country about how American families are eating. Efforts all over the country are having a real and measurable impact. Families are eating more at home. They’re using the nutrition facts panel. They’re making, ultimately, better choices.

Source:  meatingtime.com, 1/17/2014

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