Since none of them have comprised the majority of American food and eating behaviors for at least the last 20 years. I think back to school lunches in the 80s, and it’s hard to recall a single protein-dense meal or really any meal where grains and plants weren’t the vast majority of the plate. Heck, even on Mac and Cheese day, I doubt the dietary fat content outweighed the carbohydrate content.
On the “report card” of American eating in the past two decades, researchers agree that carbohydrates always comprise over half of the nutrition (https://now.tufts.edu/…/report-card-diet-trends-low-quality… ). Always.
Americans are more vegetarian on average than anything else. And most of those plant-derived foods are processed to death. And it’s been this way for a long time. The call to reduce our protein consumption and meat intake is a little at odds with the data. We may produce and buy a lot. But we don’t eat a lot. Keep in mind American food waste is out of control, clocking in somewhere around 40 percent (yes, that’s right - we throw away 40 percent of our food).
People don’t eat protein, meat, fats, or real salt. I’ve been doing consults with gym-goers and would-be gym-goers for over 15 years. We’re talking tens of thousands of people. And most of them report back something like, “we maybe eat red meat once a week, chicken once or twice, and seafood once.” They’re talking servings, mind you. That’s like 4 servings of protein-dense food per week. They go on to describe their “healthy” eating habits: oatmeal, cereal, whole grain pastas, whole grain bread, etc. Where exactly is this massive overconsumption of real fats, real salt, and meats?
As far as I can tell, only in healthy people. No, seriously. The only people I’ve ever heard in a consult report back a majority protein intake in their diets were fit. They were lean. They were healthy. They had optimal body fat percents and no CVD risk factors.
Do our food industries produce too much fat, meat and protein? Maybe. But we don’t eat too much. Walk through a grocery store and show me the tiny butcher counter and the minuscule shelf with butter or ghee or oils on it. Now, show me the rows upon rows upon rows of cereals and pastas and overflowing boxes of potatoes and corn and an entire 2/3rds of the store dedicated to fruits, juices, snacks, etc. I mean, it's built into our Americana songs for crying out loud. We sing about amber waves of grain, not beef as far as the eye can see.
The popular criticisms on American diet don’t look at the fact that our primary nutrients are plant-derived and carbohydrates. Thus, the common criticisms can’t be anything else but utter nonsense.
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