U.S. consumers’ intakes of several key nutrients differ from Federal recommendations, and those differences are associated with where they obtain food.
Researchers from USDA’s Economic Research Service examined diet patterns based on density—amounts of nutrients consumed per 1,000 calories—using the latest available national food consumption survey data collected in 2017–18. They compared average consumption densities of six nutrients with what would be needed to match Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations.
On average, dietary fiber and iron intake densities were more than 20 percent below the recommended level. Meanwhile, calcium densities were closer to the recommended level but still fell short of recommendations. Total fat intake was within 20 percent of the highest recommended percent of calories from total fats, which is 35 percent.
The density of saturated fats for food away from home and densities of sodium from all sources were more than 20 percent above the recommended limit.