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  Home  > Personal Wellness  > Changes in US Dietary Patterns

Changes in US Dietary Patterns

Figures provided by the University of California and the USDA give a startling overview of the changes in the amounts of items commonly consumed by Americans between 1970 and 1996:

  • 35 percent less coffee
  • 23 percent less eggs
  • 22 percent less beverage milk
  • 15 percent less red meat
  • and

  • 17 percent more alcoholic beverages
  • 21 percent more fats and oils
  • 23 percent more fruits and vegetables
  • 24 percent more caloric sweeteners (includes caloric sweeteners used in soft drinks)
  • 26 percent more fish
  • 46 percent more flour and cereal products
  • 90 percent more poultry
  • 114 percent more carbonated soft drinks
  • 143 percent more cheese

Keep in mind that these figures may be deceiving. They do not indicate the form in which the fruits and vegetables are consumed. If vegetables" are consumed as tomato sauce that is topped by thick slices of high-fat, high-protein cheese, or as potato chips or fries washed down with carbonated soft drinks, although they may provide some benefit, the detrimental effect is far greater. The same disclaimer applies to the consumption of poultry. Eating more chicken rather than red meat is one thing, but eating more batter-covered, deep-fried chicken may defeat the purpose of cutting down on red meat.

As a population we seem to be in a period of profound media-driven dietary confusion. While some statistics would indicate that we are making positive choices, the growing rates of chronic illness and obesity cannot be denied.




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