Junk Food Comprises Nearly One-Third of Calories in American Diet

While I was still a student, we were just beginning to notice and study the obesity epidemic in the United States, which directly correlates with the large number of people eating fast food.

Sadly, it appears that the people of the UK have followed America’s lead in this un-healthy diet trend. The problem here does not lie in the obesity and diabetes epidemics alone, but in that we are actually relying on junk food for our “nutrition,” perhaps without even realizing it! Not only is “fast food” generally un-nutritious, but people generally felt less well when eating this type of food. Lack of energy, low mood, and general lethargy after meals can ALL be mapped back to high-glycemic foods, many of which are part of the junk food that we eat for convenience.

Take a look at this recent survey in the United States outlined below. Also, be aware that we can each begin to change our diet and lifestyle, one tiny step at a time, to improve our own health and well being, both now and into the future.


With Thanks to USANA…

Research out of the University of California, Berkeley reveals that nearly a third of American’s calories come from “empty calorie” foods such as sweets and desserts, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages, with another 5% coming from salty snacks and fruit-flavored drinks. Lead researcher Gladys Block, a professor of epidemiology and public health nutrition at the university, used data previously collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Block analyzed responses from 4,700 adult participants who were asked to report everything they had consumed in the previous 24 hours.

“We know people are eating a lot of junk food, but to have almost one-third of Americans’ calories coming from those categories is a shocker. It’s no wonder there’s an obesity epidemic in this country,” Block said in a statement.

Sodas contributed 7.1 percent of the total calories consumed. By category, “sweets” topped the list, followed by hamburgers, pizza, and potato chips.

Fruits and vegetables made up a mere 10 percent of calories in the average diet.

“It’s important to emphasize that sweets, desserts, snacks, and alcohol are contributing calories without providing vitamins and minerals,” said Block. “You can actually be obese and still be undernourished with regard to important nutrients. We shouldn’t be telling people to eat less, we should be telling people to eat differently.”

Block G. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. Volume 17, June-August 2004, 439-447

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