CSPI’s Nutrition Action Healthletter Grades the Changing American Diet

Cheese Consumption hits All-Time High; Americans Still Consuming Too Much Beef & Soda Despite Declines, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to regular readers that the CSPI gives a barely passing grade to the quantity and quality of food we are consuming.


Americans are eating too much of everything, and it’s not just how much, but what we eat, that needs work, according to a report card on the changing American diet published today in Nutrition Action Healthletter.  The average American consumes about 2,500 calories per day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates.  That’s up from about 2,000 calories a day in the 1970s. (my emphasis)

(Ed. note:  CSPI is hosting a quiz about America’s Changing Diet. Take it now, if you like, since spoilers follow.)

CSPI gave the American diet a D+ in the category of Meat, Poultry, & Seafood.  Chicken began edging out beef starting in 2004 but Americans still eat more red meat (beef plus pork, lamb, and veal) than white meat.  Red meats, especially processed meats like bacon, ham, hot dogs, and sausage, raise the risk of colon cancer, heart disease, and stroke. (my emphasis)

CSPI gave Americans’ Fruit & Vegetable consumption a B-.  It’s clear that Americans are ignoring experts’ advice to fill half their plates with vegetables and fruits.  Vegetable consumption (minus white potatoes) climbed in the late 1980s but has been inching down since that time.  Fruit (minus juice) has been fairly flat.

CSPI gave Americans’ diet a C- on Grains, since we’re still eating far more (mostly white) flour in bagels, buns, tortillas, muffins, cupcakes, doughnuts, cookies, pasta, and pizza crust than in the 1970s. And although soft drinks—and added sugars—are down from their peak, CSPI issued a D+ on Beverages because sodas (which are mostly sugary, not diet) are still the dominant beverage. For more on this see my Page – What’s wrong with soft drinks?




Filed under American diet, CSPI, healthy eating, Weight, weight control

3 responses to “CSPI’s Nutrition Action Healthletter Grades the Changing American Diet

  1. As we’ve discussed, people do not equate the real dangers the STANDARD AMERICAN DIET poses. It is easy, fast and tastes good (to many people.) The attitude, therefore, is, “it’s not going to kill me.” The attitude is WRONG. This type of food plays a MAJOR ROLE in causing serious life threatening diseases.

    Education, education, education (starting with children IN SCHOOLS) is necessary to turn this epidemic around. Parents need education as well to support their children’s lifestyle habits. The other option is burying one’s head in the sand and pretending the problem will go away on its own. Does anyone really believe this option offers a realistic solution?


  2. Heh, heh. A little known passage in Genesis: And on the Eighth day, to prove to humankind, he gave man bacon, and deemed it the candy of meat.

    Look it up. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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