Why do people in the U.S. eat the wrong food?
By Jessica CappuccioDecember 27, 2018 3:30PMFood is a big part of American life, but its origins and the foods that make it up can vary widely.
What is the proper amount of sodium in the average American diet?
How do Americans manage their cholesterol levels?
And what about gluten and dairy?
To answer these questions, a team of scientists from New York University and the University of California, Berkeley analyzed more than 50 years of food survey data from more than 7 million Americans.
The results are presented in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“Americans consume a lot of foods that are rich in fat, saturated fat, and trans fats, but not as much as we need,” said the study’s lead author, Robert F. Lott, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at New York’s Langone Medical Center.
“We don’t have as much sodium as we should because we don’t eat a lot.
But the sodium we do eat is much more of a problem than we think.”
The researchers analyzed food labels to measure how much salt was added to foods.
By doing so, they found that Americans eat foods high in sodium and have much higher levels of salt in the blood than people in other countries.
In their analysis, they analyzed how much sodium is added to nearly 1,600 food items and compared the levels of sodium to the amount of fat, carbohydrate, and protein in those items.
They found that the amount added to most foods is the same as in most countries.
But what about the foods people in this country eat?
The researchers used data from a national food survey conducted by the U,S.
Department of Agriculture in 1976, and used that data to develop an estimate of the average daily amount of salt found in each food.
In general, they calculated that the average salt in American foods was about 13 milligrams per day.
“We found that there was no significant difference in the amount [of salt] added to food for a typical American diet from other countries,” said Lott.
“In general, people who ate less sodium tended to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”
When you compare the average amount of dietary sodium found in foods from different countries, the results are very different, said Lotte.
Americans eat more sodium per kilogram of body weight than people of other countries, he said.
They eat about 20 percent less than people who eat more than 30 percent of their calories from sodium.
“Our findings suggest that people in industrialized countries eat more salt than Americans,” said Dr. Paul L. Heaney, a professor of preventive medicine and epidemiologist at the University College London, who was not involved in the study.
“But this may be a byproduct of the fact that people of this country are much more educated about the health effects of salt.”
The study also found that salt consumption is related to other dietary habits, such as obesity and smoking.
People who eat the most salt tend to be obese, overweight, and smokers, the researchers found.
Lotte said there may be an even greater relationship between sodium intake and salt consumption among people who are older.
The researchers also looked at the role of processed foods, and found that processed foods have a large effect on how much we eat.
Processed foods include foods that contain artificial colors, preservatives, preservative-free ingredients, preservers, prescriptive sweeteners, and artificial flavors and colors.
Lott said that processed food may be the single largest contributor to our unhealthy diet.
“Processed food is very expensive,” he said, “so it’s a big deal when Americans consume too much of it.”
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