Americans have been following the Guidelines.
This report confirms what the last one found: In nearly every way possible, Americans have followed official dietary advice during the last few decades. In the same time period we’ve had massive epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
From 1970 to 2014, our food availability changed dramatically, all in line with the HHS-USDA Dietary Guidelines (we don’t have data specifically starting in 1980, which is when the Guidelines were launched).
Note: this is availability data, not adjusted for loss and waste, which is closer to actual consumption data. That consumption data is also in the report, but % changes are not calculated, so I’ll do that and report back. I’ve done some checking, however, and can report that so far, consumption tracks closely with availability.
WE EAT MORE of all the foods that we were told to increase:
- Fresh fruit, up 35%
- Fresh vegetables, up 20%
- Wheat flour, up 21%
- Fish and shellfish, up 23%
- Chicken (which we were told to eat instead of red meat), up 114%
- Nuts, up 51%
WE EAT LESS OF all the foods that we were told to decrease:
- Red meat is down 28%
- Beef is down 35%
- Pork is down 11%
- Veal, lamb and mutton are down 78%
- Eggs are down 13% (only in 2015 did the Dietary Guidelines change its policy on cholesterol, suggesting that eggs are now OK)
WE ALSO CHANGED THE FATS IN OUR FOODS, as we were told:
- Whole milk is down 79% while lower fat and skim milk are up 127%
- Animal fats (saturated fats) are down 27% while…
- Vegetable fats and oils (unsaturated fats) are up 87%
- Salad and cooking oils are up 248%
(This data is only to 2010)
HOWEVER, added sugars are up 10%, driven by high-fructose corn syrup (up by 8,212%), not refined cane and beet sugars (down 33%). The added sugars number have actually been dropping since about 1999, but I’ll save that for another post.
- Americans have done a very good job following the US guidelines.
- To blame obesity, diabetes, and other nutrition related diseases on saturated fats or red meat is strongly contradicted by this data.
- To suggest that more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, fish and nuts will be a panacea for health are also contradicted by this data.