USDA's fruit recommendations - how bad is the American diet?

The "Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005" is a report published every 5 years by the USDA (US Dept of Agriculture). In this report they are recommending 2 "cups" of fruit a day, which appears to be 4 "servings" per day.

Yet according to the USDA's Economic Research Service, in 2004 (the most recent year studied) the average American per-capita serving of fruit was 0.85, for a total of 77.9 calories, and 5.1 ounces of fruit. What's more, this includes ALL sources of possible fruit including "soft drinks" with at least 10% fruit juice, even those with water and sugar as major components. Download all of the research from this page if you're interested.

That is a VERY sad state of affairs in the average American diet. Not only that, but less than half of the so-called fruit consumption is from "fresh fruit".

The USDA recommends consuming a variety of fruits, and that we decrease those foods that are less-nutrient-dense (like bad fruit juices, fruit cocktails with syrup, etc), and finally they recommend consumption of "whole fruits". While they say to avoid juice, they really don't mean nutrient-dense fruits - they mean the junk you find on store shelves..

The USDA makes no bones about the fact that increased fruit and vegetable consumption is key to reducing the liklihood of all kinds of diseases including cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. A nutrient rich, organic, whole fruit product is something Americans appear to need in a desprate way.

No comments: