What is the standard American diet? Components, health risks and how to better it

Written by Kristiyana Burdeva

The American diet has come under much scrutiny over the years, and for good reason. With an abundance of processed and fast food, it’s easy to see why the diet of the average American is not the healthiest. While there are some individuals who are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the majority of the population tend to make food choices that do little to promote a healthy diet. But why is that? Let’s answer the question, by first going over the components of the standard American diet, the risks it holds, and how to better it.

The role of carbohydrates in the American diet

american diet_what is the american diet


Let’s begin by first focusing on the big role that carbohydrates play in the average American’s diet. A diet, which is heavily reliant on refined grains, added sugars, and unhealthy fats.

Refined grains

Refined grains such as white flour, white rice, and pasta are all common staples in the American diet. While these foods are relatively inexpensive and can be a very convenient choice for many, they are nutrient poor and lack the essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs to function optimally.

Added sugars

Added sugars are also a major part of the American diet. Sugary drinks, desserts, and snacks are essential everyday foods for many Americans. While they can be enjoyable and can provide a quick source of energy, foods with added sugars are also high in calories and can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

Unhealthy fats

Unhealthy fats are also a common part of the American diet. Fried foods, processed meats, and full-fat dairy products are all common culprits. These foods are also very high in calories and can lead to weight gain. They are also high in saturated fat, which can increase the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions. Health concerns which often occur for a lot of Americans.

Lack of fruits and veggies in the American diet

american diet_how often should we eat vegetables


Another unhealthy feature of the standard American diet is that it also tends to be low in fruits and vegetables. While the average American eats more produce than ever before, the majority of these foods are not fresh and are typically heavily processed. This means that many of the essential vitamins and minerals that come from fresh produce are not present in the average American’s diet. A lack of vitamins and minerals can lead to many health issues.

Macronutrients and fibre in the American diet

fibre intake_how much fibre to eat

The average American’s diet also lacks in micronutrients. Micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are essential for optimal health and are frequently lacking in the American diet. Another essential detail about the American diet is that it regularly lacks in fibre. Fibre is necessary for digestion and can help to regulate blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, many Americans do not get enough fibre in their diet, which can lead to digestive problems and other health issues.

Why do Americans have such a poor diet?

Overall, a standard American’s diet is far from ideal. With an abundance of processed and fast foods, added sugars, unhealthy fats, and a lack of essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre, it’s easy to see why this diet has come under such scrutiny. But the question we have to ask here, is why do Americans eat the way they do? Why do they have such unhealthy eating habits? The answer lies in a combination of factors, from economics to culture. On the economic side, the availability of cheap, pre-prepared meals has made it easier for Americans to eat on the go. On the cultural, eating out is seen as a social activity. Plus, fast-food chains offer inexpensive meals with a sense of fun and camaraderie.

How can the American diet be improved?

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Fortunately, there are simple steps that the average American can take to improve their diet. Eating more fresh produce, reducing the amount of processed and fast food, and increasing the intake of fibre are all simple steps that can help to improve their eating habits. Additionally, incorporating more whole grains and healthy fats into the diet can help to ensure that the body is getting all of the essential nutrients that it needs. Aiming to meal plan can be a big help as it will save you time and money, and exercising regularly 3–4 times a week, 30 min a day is something every American should practice.

In conclusion, the American diet is far from ideal. However, with a few simple changes, the average American can make a significant difference in their diet and overall health. Lay off refined and sugary foods, and focus more on plant-based meals with lots of fibre. Exercise often and incorporate more whole grains and healthy fats. By following these steps, the average American can make a positive change in their diet and take steps towards a healthier lifestyle. And if you want to start off now on working towards your health goals, here is a list of 10 health-wise New Year’s resolutions to achieve in 2023. Good luck!

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