Where Do Americans Get Their Calories?

Where Do Americans Get Their Calories?

Each month it seems there’s a hot new diet or a new food at the top of everyone’s shopping list. But, in a few years, we may discover that the food we’re championing today might not be ideal. Just think back to Susan Powter, whose diet plan called for a strict regime of baked potatoes to lose weight.

Every 5 years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly publish Dietary Guidelines for Americans and they’re currently meeting to discuss the next report that will be available in Fall 2015.

In light of this upcoming report, we took a look at the existing one. One of the segments you might find the most interesting is on page 12, where they published data from a 2005–2006 NHANES report that revealed the top 25 sources of where Americans get their calories.

Those are:
1. Grain-based desserts
2. Yeast breads
3. Chicken and chicken mixed dishes
4. Soda/energy/sports drinks
5. Alcoholic beverages
6. Pizza
7. Tortillas, burritos, tacos
8. Pasta and pasta dishes
9. Beef and beef mixed dishes
10. Dairy desserts
11. Burgers
12. Regular cheese
13. Potato/corn/other chips
14. Sausage, franks, bacon, and ribs
15. Nuts/seeds and nut/seed mixed dishes
16. Fried white potatoes (i.e. French fries)
17. Ready-to-eat cereals
18. Candy
19. Eggs and egg mixed dishes
20. Rice and rice mixed dishes
21. Reduced fat milk
22. Quickbreads (ex. Banana bread)
23. Other fish and fish mixed dishes
24. Fruit drinks
25. Salad dressing

Though it’s not surprising, we’re dismayed that desserts, soda, alcohol, pizza, pasta, and bread dominates the top 10. Nuts (a highly caloric, but nutritionally dense food), clock in at number 15, but where are all the fruits and vegetables? Sure they aren’t high in calories, but they’re literally missing. Notice how far down the list you need to go to find healthier options and how fibrous foods such as beans and sweet potatoes don’t make the list.

We hope to see a healthier top 25 list next year  but as we wait for the new list to be released, we wanted to know:

What foods do you think will make up the new top ten when the list is published next year?