Monday, March 13, 2023

Dietary Trends In Fat And Sugar Intake

The Study

Every few years, the government conducts the NHANES (National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey) survey to examine the health of the U.S. population. This cross-sectional, geographically and ethnically representative survey gives a snapshot view of what we are all eating. 

This current study looked at the added sugar and saturated fat consumption of 2-18 year olds. The results were not good. Saturated fat and added sugar accounted for 30% of energy intake. The goal is under 15%.

The top 3 sources of food for our children were:

1) Sweet bakery foods

2) Savory snacks (like potato chips)

3) Pizza

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2022; 116:1779-89.

Take Home Message

These results are disturbing to me for at least 4 reasons:

1) Our children are not getting the nutrients they need to promote healthy growing bodies and brains.

2) This style of eating will dramatically increase risk of weight gain, which is now epidemic among our children.

3) Diets this high in sugar and saturated fat will substantially increase risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and certain cancers. There has also been an association found between eating this way and negative mental health outcomes, like anxiety and depression.

4) We are instilling bad eating habits in our kids which most certainly will be carried on into adulthood.

We need to do a lot better with what we are feeding our children.

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