Current Eating Patterns in the United States

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The typical eating patterns currently consumed by many in the United States do not align with the Dietary Guidelines.

About three-fourths of the population has an eating pattern that is low in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and oils.

More than half of the population is meeting or exceeding total grain and total protein foods recommendations, but, as discussed later in the chapter, are not meeting the recommendations for the subgroups within each of these food groups.

Most Americans exceed the recommendations for added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

In addition, the eating patterns of many are too high in calories. Calorie intake over time, in comparison to calorie needs, is best evaluated by measuring body weight status. The high percentage of the population that is overweight or obese suggests that many in the United States overconsume calories.

Current eating patterns can be moved toward healthier eating patterns by making shifts in food choices over time. Making these shifts can help support a healthy body weight, meet nutrient needs, and lessen the risk for chronic disease.

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