We Get "F" for Food Choices, Experts Say

We get an "F."

That's what the government sgives our dietary habits, according to Jane Brody.  The Center for Public Science periodically compiles a report card on how we're doing and we, well, flunked.

Brody writes, "The analysis of changes in food consumption from 1970 to 2010 reveals that we still have a long way to go before we come close to meeting dietary guidelines for warding off obesity and chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease."

Though there is some good news, she notes. "Our consumption of added sweeteners, though still significantly higher than it was in 1970, has come down from the 'sugar high' of 1999 when the average was 89 pounds per person." But an average of 78 pounds per person in 2010, mostly as sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, is still too much, the report points out.
Brody says we get a B-plus for cutting back on fats and oils, the highest grade awarded,. But...."Yes, we’ve dramatically reduced consumption of heart-damaging trans fats and, to a lesser extent, saturated solid fats like margarine and shortening. But there’s been a steady, steep climb in total fats added to the diet in the form of salad oils and cooking oils."
As a country, we have definitely not been on a “low-fat diet.”  Would you believe the average person consumes 20 pounds more in total fat yearly than in 1970?  Which partly explains why the obesity rate among adults has more than doubled since then, when only 15 percent of Americans were obese, according to Brody.
 
This is depressing. In 2005, the Agriculture Department has reported, "The average American consumed 645 calories a day in added fats and oils, not counting the fats naturally present in foods like meats and dairy products," Brody says.
 
So what is it exactly we're doing wrong?  Eating too much of a good thing (two pounds of salad is not a healthy choice).  Too-big portions of grains (even switching from white, refined grain to whole grain is not enough; we're simply eating too much). 
 
 
A bagel -- whether whole wheat or plain -- is 500 calories.  But this is worse.  The typical muffin you can buy today is 800 calories.  And when we're thinking about fat, the muffin  has about the same amount as a big steak.
 
“We need to replace sandwiches with salads, swap starches for veggies, and trade cookies, cupcakes and chips for fresh fruit,” Brody quotes nutritionist Bonnie Liebman, who collated the stats. “We started eating more vegetables, not counting potatoes, in the 1980s, but the rise has stalled.”
 
 
Experts advise diners to try less familiar species like pollock, sablefish, Spanish mackerel, haddock, and farm-raised barramundi and shrimp. Farm-raised mussels, clams and oysters are sources of “fabulous” lean protein that clean the aquatic environment, one said.

And frozen fish? It's just as good as fresh, because it's frozen as soon as it's caught.  Now, the taste.  That's something. 




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