Americans Consuming High Levels Of Low Quality Carbs Despite Overall Improvement In Diet Quality: Study

Although the typical American diet has improved, the quantity of low-quality carbs and unhealthy fats remains high, says a new research study.

NDTV  |  Updated: September 26, 2019 20:45 IST

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Americans Consuming High Levels Of Low Quality Carbs Despite Overall Improvement In Diet Quality: Study

Quality of diet of American adults has improved since 1999, says new study

Although the typical diet in the U.S. has improved, the quantity of low-quality carbohydrates and unhealthy fats remains high in the meals of adults, says a new research study. The study analysed the percentage of energy intake from low-quality carbs from refined grains, typically found in junk foods like pizzas, pastas, burgers, etc. The study said that although this percentage has undergone a reduction between 1996 and 2016, it still remains too high for the food to be termed as healthy. The study concluded this after looking at trends in macronutrient intake and sources of food, as well as the quality of the diet followed by American adults.

The study titled, "Trends in Dietary Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat Intake and Diet Quality Among US Adults, 1999-2016" was published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA). The study was conducted by researchers at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China and it bore some good news for Americans. The researchers looked at dietary data from 44,000 American adults who reported everything they ate during a 24-hour period at least once between 1999 and 2016. The average age of the participants was 47 and 52 per cent of those analysed were female. The dietary quality was assessed using the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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The total carbohydrates fell from 52.5 per cent to 50.5 per cent, while the total protein intake increased from 15.5 per cent to 16.4 per cent. Total low-quality carbs fell from 45 to approximately 42 per cent, while the consumption of hiuality carbs increased from approximately 8 per cent to 9 per cent. The study report concluded by saying, "From 1999 to 2016, US adults experienced a significant decrease in percentage of energy intake from low-quality carbohydrates and significant increases in percentage of energy intake from high-quality carbohydrates, plant protein, and polyunsaturated fat. Despite improvements in macronutrient composition and diet quality, continued high intake of low-quality carbohydrates and saturated fat remained."

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