Despite the doom and gloom that is the current news cycle, it appears that Americans are finally getting one thing right: they’re eating healthier, even if they’re changing their habits really, really slowly.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says that gradually, Americans have been changing their outlook on food, becoming more informed and choosing to consume healthier options.
The study analyzed the diet of 44,000 Americans over the age of 20 and concluded that, overall, they were consuming 3% less highly processed foods.
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“These positive trends are likely to reflect an increased public awareness of the health risks associated with high added sugar and low whole grain consumption,” said Fang Fang Zhang, co-author of the study and professor at Tufts. Aside from exposure, Zhang also mentioned how important the role of education is when it comes to diets. “People with less than a high school education or living below the poverty line not only ate a worse diet than those with a higher level of education or income at any given cycle, they also did not improve their diet quality over time.”
Other research finds that people are now consuming more high quality carbohydrates and plant protein. One bad thing the study found is that 42% of energy intake came from mostly low quality carbs like refined grains, starches and added sugars.
Although the improvement of America’s eating habits has been slow, researchers from the study claim that the existence of this data can only highlight positive things, instructing people on how to eat better and on which areas of nutrition they should be focusing on. The study also highlights the differences between communities, making it easier for the people in charge to address these discrepancies and take the necessary measures.