Eating healthy is on a lot of people’s minds these days, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has found that many Americans’ diets are still not up to par. The problem is not a lack of food, but rather a lack of nutritious foods that supply the vitamins and minerals our bodies depend on to function.
In fact, about 30 percent of the calories that Americans consume daily are from nutrient-poor junk foods like sweets, desserts, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages and salty snacks, a study published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis found.
“What is really alarming is the major contribution of ‘empty calories’ in the American diet,” said Gladys Block, professor of epidemiology and public health nutrition at the University of California, Berkeley. “We know people are eating a lot of junk food, but to have almost one-third of Americans’ calories coming from those categories is a shocker. It’s no wonder there’s an obesity epidemic in this country.”
Further, as a result of not eating nutritious foods, many Americans are laking in crucial nutrients. Ironically, Block points out, it’s possible to be overweight and still be undernourished.