The American diet: One continuous snack? And why more people skip lunch than breakfast

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

Alanna Moshfegh: Analysis of macronutrient intakes over the period 1977/78 to 2007/08 shows that fat consumption went down, protein consumption remained steady, and carbohydrate intakes went up… along with obesity levels
Alanna Moshfegh: Analysis of macronutrient intakes over the period 1977/78 to 2007/08 shows that fat consumption went down, protein consumption remained steady, and carbohydrate intakes went up… along with obesity levels

Related tags Nutrition

The percentage of energy derived from snacks in the American diet has increased from 12% in the late 1970s to 24% in 2009/10 as more people graze throughout the day rather than sitting down to three square meals, according to analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) data.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Peanut Institute in Napa Valley on May 4-6 (click here​), Alanna Moshfegh, research leader in the food surveys research group at USDA’s agricultural research service, said that the average number of eating occasions per day increased from 3.9 in the late ‘70s to 5.6 in 2009/10.

She added: “In the late 1970s, 40% of Americans said they had eaten no snacks the previous day.”

Fast forward 30 years, she said, and that number dropped to just 4%, with 56% of Americans reporting eating three or more snacks a day.

Snacking habits are also beginning earlier, with almost a third (32%) of children aged 12-23 months now regularly consuming chips, popcorn or pretzels, and 19% eating candy, she said.

More Americans are likely to skip lunch than breakfast

Interestingly, NHANES data also shows that Americans are now more likely to skip lunch than breakfast, with 85% reporting eating breakfast the previous day compared with only 80% reporting eating lunch.

Another striking change in eating habits over the past 30 years has been the rise in pizza consumption, with only 3% of adults in 1977/78 reporting eating pizza the previous day compared with 10% in 2007/8, she revealed.

The change is even more pronounced in young people, with 6% of children aged 2-19 years reporting eating pizza the previous day in 1977/78, compared with 20% in 2007/8, she said.

According to NHANES data 20% of 2-19 year olds reported eating pizza the previous day in 2007/8 compared with 6% in the late 1970s

Meanwhile, the number of calories that pizza contributes to the diet of pizza-eaters has also increased considerably over the same period, she said, with pizza contributing on average 453 calories to the daily energy intakes of pizza eaters in the late 1970s, compared with 666 calories in 2007/8.

Fruit consumption has remained consistent, while vegetable consumption has decreased

As for fruit, consumption has been pretty consistent in the past 30 years, with Americans consistently reporting 0.9 portions per day over the 30-year period.

However, vegetable consumption decreased from an average of 2.6 portions a day in the late 1970s to just 1.9 portions in 2007/8 (the definition of vegetables includes French Fries and the definition of fruit includes fruit juice), she said.

apples-bananas-istock-Peter Hibberdjpg
Fruit consumption has remained pretty consistent over the past 30 years

Worryingly, while 12% of Americans surveyed in the late 70s reported eating no fruit or veggies the previous day, this figure had risen to 25% three decades later, she added.

As for milk, the percentage of Americans reporting consuming no milk the previous day also rose from 34% in the late 70s to 54% 30 years later, she said.

obesity-istock-Ekaterina Monakhova

Finally, analysis of macronutrient intakes over the period 1977/78 to 2007/08 show that fat consumption went down, protein consumption stayed fairly steady, and carbohydrate intakes went up… along with obesity levels.

Click here​ to read more coverage of the Peanut Institute event in Napa Valley. 

Click here​ to read about recent changes to soft drinks consumption showing up in the NHANES data. 

Related news

Show more


Healthy Bio-Vegetable with 40%higher Nutrition- Value and Without Pesticides !

Posted by cb11,

ALERT - TRTC & Bayer Crop Sciences !!

Bio·Vegetable & Marijuana & Green Tech - TRTC Terra Tech Corp. - USA
( Also Medical MMJ Field )

TRTC in the Bio & MJ Field is the First and only US Partnering
Company of Bayer Crop Sciences - Germany’s World Leader !!

Compare the Marijuana Field, TRTC exclusively is also in
the 12x Bigger Bio·Vegetable Markets and resulting Save.
Get not affected as others by Fed‘s Restrictive US MJ Laws !!

News- Events Publications Jan. 23, 2013 / PM 4:15 - AllPennyStocks.Com
Where about the Bayer Crop Sciences Matter in the middle is written about !
The Same Also By Reuters

Terra Tech Corp. - Over $ 16 - 20 Mn Revenue Deals !!

May 10, 2013 / PM 4:06 ET - Great News TRTC Financing Line $ 10 Mn !!
May 8, 2013 - TRTC News Event !!
First Starting $ 1,3 Mn Contracts with GroRite for Edible Garden,
when all contracts completed with annual Plus $ 4 Mn Revenue
Also From This Part ! Results Totally to $ 20 - 24 Mn Revenue !
May 6, 2013 - TRTC News Event !!
May 2, 2013 - TRTC Investor Alert !!
May 1, 2013 - TRTC News Events !!

April 25, 2013 - TRTC Merger Completed With Edible Garden NB Plants in NJ :
TRTC declares additionally over $ 10 Mn More Revenue !!

April 19, 2013 - Canada’s International No.1 TV - Presenting TRTC Peterson

Overview & Up- Dates - The Beautifully TRTC !!

News March 24, 2013 - TRTC Has Huge Investors Bank Money !!

Video March 25, 2013 - View FOXBusiness TRTC Derek Peterson !!

SEC 10-K Filing Made & Published on Tuesday - March 26, 2013 !
Resulting can expect the signing of the Merger Agreement
With Two Big NJ Plants- Production Companies.

News Event - March 27, 2013 - Merger Confirmation of Derek Peterson !!

News Events - April 1st + 2nd - TRTC Very Special News Events !!

The Must Read To Know The Humans Future And Why TRTC !!

According SEC April 22, 2013 :
TRTC Common Shares Issued And Outstanding Only 85‘611‘781 !!

The TRTC Forum - The Place To Be :

MJ Plants The Only US Success !!

If considering the reality about the Marijuana Matter
in general, then its necessary to mention in the US
it will be handled by the Medical- Applications as of
German Bayer, Merck and Swiss La Roche also because
have the Money for FDA Trials & Approval, resulting they
only have the FDA approved MJ- Products where therefore
the US Health- Insurances only pay for the very expensive
MJ- Medication and the Wellness- Food Matters finally be
handled as by Nestle, Unilever or Red Bull, as only by
the big global players !!
They Have The Experiences, Productions, Markets & Money
As All Already In Place !

But at any Marijuana Plants or Marijuana Plants Productions
or any Provider or Support Companies as only by TRTC for
the Recreational Marijuana Grow Application of the very huge
Masses of Populations even at their Homes, that’s where
the US will only experience a NEW GOLD RUSH By
Investors In There Will Get Very Happy From !!
This is also according the Fed‘s New US MJ Laws to expect !

It shows the Marijuana US Success Exclusivity for TRTC Only !!

In the Marijuana & Bio·Vegetable Field, TRTC & GrowOp
Company is the Very Only SEC Registered Company !

As everybody knows, TRTC & GrowOp as from Day One
the company established, has the PCAOB SEC Approved
Auditing, has the SEC Registration and from since after 6
months the company established has already Net-Profit
and now within 24 months it goes to the NASDAQ !!
TRTC compare to the Marijuana Field is also in the
12x bigger $ 20 Bn Bio-Vegetable Markets !!

Happy Investing To All Of You

Biggest US Marijuana Field Mistakes !!

The US States or Population should have Voted Only for the
Recreational Marijuana Matter means To Grow Plants and nothing
for Dispensaries, Shops, Etc. General Products Related Items also with
Wellness Products ; To Keep Out the Big Global Players with markets
opportunities only they in possession and have them only remaining
in the small 10 - 20 % Medical FDA Approved Markets Segment !!

One FDA - Approval for each Product with all the 3 Phases
of Clinical Trials cost between $ 50 - 100 Millions, the small
US Medical Marijuana Companies simply don‘t have !

The TRTC Forum - The Place To Be :


Report abuse

'convenience foods' in supermarkets

Posted by Mary,

Just because the shops have a huge proportion of floor space dedicated to these things doesn't mean they have to be bought.

As for frozen pizzas - what's easier to make from scratch than a pizza ?

Report abuse

social shifts

Posted by JA Larson,

The largely invisible issues are the large societal/social changes. Huge increases in single parent families and dual-income families. Significant amounts of time commuting (1.5 hrs/day for kids).
That translates into TIME shortfalls.
The bill payers become meals and sleep.
That's why most meals are eaten out and why 'convenience' foods are eaten in. Go to the grocery store and count how much floor space is devoted to processed foods. Watch the Jamie Oliver videos where he visits homes and opens the refrigerators (frozen pizza top to bottom).

Report abuse

Follow us


View more