People are drinking less soda than they used to. But in nearly every other way, the typical American diet hasn’t improved in a very long time.
“If you look at how we’re eating—the quality of our diets—it’s been pretty constant over a number of decades,” says Dr. Stephen Juraschek, an internist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Americans still eat too much red meat, too many refined grains and too much protein. “The average American already consumes more than enough protein, but people are still seeking out more,” says Wendy Dahl, an associate professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Florida.
Meanwhile, the popularity of anti-grain and low-carb diets has pushed people away from healthy sources of fiber—namely foods like fruits and whole grains, Dahl says. The vast majority of Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, despite decades of research showing that these and other fiber-rich foods are strongly associated with improved health and longevity. “There’s a lot of debate among nutrition experts about things like ketogenic diets and low-carbohydrate versus low-fat diets, but if you get everyone in a room, no one is advocating for unhealthy refined grains or sugar or unhealthy processed meats,” Juraschek says.
Excerpted from Time