Saturated Fat Is Still Main Ingredient In Americans’ Diet

Saturated fat still makes up the majority of American’ diet, according results of a recent study.
Overall, while there has been some improvement, the typical American diet still contains an overabundance of low quality carbohydrates, refined sugars and empty calories. Consequently, obesity levels among Americans has risen to epidemic proportions — resulting in more cases of Type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

For example, during 1999–2016, the average proportion of daily calorie intake from refined grains, added sugar, and starchy vegetables decreased by only 3% in the United States.


Overall, low quality carbohydrates still account for 42% of daily calories, while high quality carbohydrates — such as whole grains and fruits — only account for 9%.


Over the same period, total fat intake went up by 1%. Half of this increase was due to saturated fat, which now accounts for 12% of daily calories. This figure is above the 10% maximum in the U.S. dietary guidelines.



saturated fat



Saturated Fat: Trends And Outlook

Researchers from the Nutrition Science Department at Tufts University analyzed dietary data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey. This study evaluated 44,000 adults who reported what they ate in a 24-hour period. Each participant reported at least once between 1999 and 2016.


  • Total carbohydrates fell from 52.5% to 50.5%.
  • Total protein increased from 15.5% to 16.4%.
  • Total fat increased from 32.0% to 33.2%.
  • Low quality carbohydrates fell from 45.1% to 41.8%.
  • High quality carbohydrates increased from 7.42% to 8.65%.
  • Plant protein increased from 5.38% to 5.76%.
  • Saturated fat increased from 11.5% to 11.9%.
  • Polyunsaturated fat increased from 7.58% to 8.23%.


The majority of foods eaten by participants in this study were snacks, desserts, pizza, fast food sandwiches, and sugar sweetened beverages. These types of foods are linked to increased risk for Type-2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and inflammation.


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