A new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that Americans are eating healthier than ever. By analyzing the eating habits of nearly 34,000 adults, researchers at Tufts University found that seeds, whole grains, and nuts are being more widely consumed, while the regular inclusion of things like sodas and other sugary drinks in daily diets is dropping.
However, despite the improvement, the study team concluded that overall, people still consume too many processed foods instead of the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. While the number of people eating what the American Heart Association considers a "poor diet” decreased from 55.9% to 45.6% between 1999 and 2012, only 1.5% of people are eating what’s considered an "ideal diet."
Researchers also found that disparities in diets directly correlate to factors like income level and race. People from low-income families tended to have less-healthy diets than people from a higher-income group. Race also plays a huge role in quality of diet, as researchers found that white people in the U.S. are eating healthier than ever, while the diets of black and Hispanic Americans have worsened.
"These findings may inform discussions on emerging successes, areas for greater attention, and corresponding opportunities to improve the diets of individuals living in the United States," wrote the study's authors. According to Dr. Margo Denke, formerly of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, the study should serve as a call to action. In an editorial that accompanied the study, Denke wrote that "clinicians, patients, and the food industry all need to work together to meet the challenge of improving the healthiness of the U.S. diet."
Eat healthier with recipes from Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, and let us know if you think your diet needs improvement.