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Abstract

This report examines the amount of food available for consumption and related food trends in the United States from 1970 to 2014 using the food availability data in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service’s Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System. By comparing the loss-adjusted food availability data (a proxy for food consumption) with the dietary recommendations in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the report also estimates whether Americans, on average, are at, above, or below dietary recommendations for fruit, vegetables, grains, protein foods, dairy, added fats and oils, and added sugars and sweeteners. The loss-adjusted food availability data are derived from the food availability data by adjusting for food spoilage, plate waste, and other losses to more closely approximate per capita consumption. The findings indicate that Americans' consumption, on average, is below the dietary recommendations for fruit, vegetables, and dairy and above the recommendations for grains, protein foods, added fats and oils, and added sugars and sweeteners on the basis of a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet. To meet these recommendations, Americans would need to lower their consumption of added fats, refined grains, and added sugars and sweeteners, and increase their consumption of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and low-fat dairy products.

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