Sources of Calories in U.S. Diet Over Last Four Decades

Italian seaside totally unrelated to this post

Do you ever wonder how many of the total calories in the aveage U.S. diet come from added sugars? Grains? Dairy products? Added fats?

You’d have to do some detailed nutrient analysis to get your personal numbers, but if you’d like U.S. averages, see this cool infographic at Civil Eats.

The graph also shows how many calories are or were available for consumption per capita over time (without accounting for wastage in restaurants). It’s based on U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

A superficial glance suggests that U.S. per capita daily calorie consumption has increased by about 600 from the 1970s until now. But remember, these numbers don’t discount for restaurant wastage. Nor do I see an adjustment for children versus adults. I’ve seen other calculations of an extra daily 150 calories (women) to 300 calories (men). Even the lower numbers could explain our explosion of overweight and obesity.

Steve Parker, M.D.

3 responses to “Sources of Calories in U.S. Diet Over Last Four Decades

  1. Incredible isn’t it. And I think consuming those extra calories in the form of sugars completely messes up the bodies signalling – making us eat even more!

    • Hello and welcome, Paleo Suz.
      Concentrated sugars and refined carbs stimulate my appetite, too. I didn’t fully realize it until after I went very-low-carb (30 or less grams a day) for 4-6 months a couple years ago.

  2. our primary source of energy is sugar. We need sugar just with the right amounts of protein and fat.