Previous research has shown that Americans are not following national dietary recommendations; however, the specific foods consumed by individuals that are displacing healthier choices and causing them to fall short of these guidelines have yet to be determined. To answer this question, researchers analyzed dietary intake data from the 2001-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) (1). It was concluded that Americans were not consuming nutrient dense foods, but rather those high in added sugars and fat. Specifically, sweetened carbonated and other sweetened beverages (fruit drinks and soda), grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies, donuts, pies, crisps, cobblers, and granola bars), nonskim dairy products (regular cheese, whole milk, and dairy desserts), and fatty meats (burgers, sausage, franks, bacon, and ribs) were displacing dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. The findings from this investigation suggest that consumers should focus on making better choices within each food group rather than meeting serving recommendations.
Bachman, JL, Reedy, J, Subar, AF, Krebs-Smith, SM. Sources of Food Group Intakes among the US Population, 2001-2002. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2008; 108: 804-814.