Recently, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics have shown the changes in dietary patterns across the United States in the past two decades. The data is based on multiple surveys on the daily dietary intake of people aged twenty and over.
According to the findings, the consumption of fruits has decreased. At the same time, they also show that the intake of vegetables appears to be the same with the majority having at least one or two vegetable-based meals in their usual diets.
Although vegetable-rich diets are nutritious and recommended by experts, these results need to be assessed with caution. This is because the way the vegetables are cooked and eaten is also equally important in order to get their maximum benefits.
Prior to the new report from the CDC, data from previous research has already accentuated the lack of nutritious foods and a high percentage of processed foods as well as sugary carbohydrates in the Standard American Diets.
Based on such studies, it can be possible that many of the participants that took part in the surveys used in CDC’s report may also be consuming unhealthy meals consisting of animals.
Since the data is based on self-reporting, it is not very reliable as this method of research tends to be unclear and contain personal biases. Additionally, it does not contain fundamental details. In this case, there is no way to tell how the participants consumed the vegetables.
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When it comes to healthy meals, cooking plays a big role. Deep-fried vegetables served as a side are not healthy and loaded with calories. On the other hand, roasted veggies and vegetables in a salad have a higher nutrition content.
However, in self-reporting, french fries or a veggie pizza may also be regarded as part of the healthy vegetable intake by the participants.
Along with the method of cooking, the chosen veggies are also important. The American Heart Association recommends an intake of colorful fruits and vegetables for the prevention of multiple chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Read more on AHA’s dietary guidelines here.
Therefore, there is a need for variety in the diet instead of only having the same two or three vegetables in the diet. Secondly, the AHA states that a healthy portion of fruits is also equally important. Keeping all of these factors in mind, it can be said that the diets have not improved.
This does not mean that these patterns cannot be changed. At the moment, the majority of the people are spending more time and their homes and consuming home-cooked foods. So, this is an opportunity to change the unhealthy eating patterns and switch to a better and nutritious diets.
To do so, people need to consume simpler meals using ingredients that are easily available. Fancy, diet-special foods are not required to make a healthy meal. Also, cooking smart is also recommended. For instance, instead of throwing over-ripe fruits, use them in baking. By doing so, not only can a person improve diet and eat healthily but also spend less on food.