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New Data Reveals What Americans Are Really Eating


It's official: Mozzarella is America's favorite cheese! Surprised? If you're wondering how the mild white cheese beat out cheddar (second place), cream (a distant third place), or even those orange squares of "American" cheese, it might help to look at a few of America's other favorite foods.

According to new data released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), tomatoes are our second favorite vegetable—behind the oft-fried-and-chipped potato—but grains make up the bulk of our diet. Mozzarella and tomato sauce on a hand-tossed crust? It's no secret Americans love pizza!

Every year the USDA monitors which meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, and grains Americans are buying. This year's report showed some interesting trends:

We're hungrier. Or at least we eat more. The data showed that Americans consumed an estimated 2,568 calories per person per day, up from 2,109 calories in 1970. 

We still love wheat. Despite all the recent bad press, Americans are still eating wheat and lots of it. Grains combined with added fats make up half our daily calories. 

We're eating more vegetables. But after potatoes and tomatoes, the next four veggies on the list—onions, lettuce, corn, and chile peppers—don't come close. Even if you add them all together, they're just over half of the amount of potatoes. 

We're eating less fruit. While our veggie consumption has gone up slightly, our fruit servings have decreased. Oranges are the clear winner, but 90 percent of them are ingested as juice. Apples are a close second, with bananas, grapes, watermelon, and strawberries trailing far behind. 

We love meat. Fire up the barbecue! Beef consumption has declined and chicken has skyrocketed, but overall Americans are eating more meat than ever, with protein making up about 25 percent of our daily calories.

We're turning down treats. (Or just swapping them out for low-sugar versions.) In 2012, 138.9 pounds per person of caloric sweeteners such as sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, and syrup were available for consumption by U.S. consumers, down from a high of 160.9 pounds in 1999. The data also showed a marked decline in HFCS, thought to be a result of more zero-calorie sweeteners on the market. 

Check out all the graphs from the USDA and see how your dinner compares to the average American's!


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