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Survey: Americans Eating More Whole Grains, Vegetables, Fruits

Oct. 26, 2008 -- Whole grains are hot, trans fat is not, and more Americans say they're doing all they can to eat right, according to a new survey from the American Dietetic Association (ADA).

In the survey, 783 U.S. adults dish on their diet and exercise habits. Among the findings:

  • Consumption of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is up.
  • Trans fat, beef, pork, and dairy consumption is down.
  • More Americans have a good attitude toward diet and exercise and say they're doing their best to eat healthfully.

Here's a closer look at those findings.

Food Trends

Here are the top five foods or nutrients that survey participants say they've increased during the past five years:

  • Whole grains: 56% say they're eating more
  • Vegetables: Half of participants say they're eating more vegetables
  • Fruits: 48% say they're eating more fruit
  • Low-fat foods: 48% say they're eating more low-fat foods
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: 38% say they've boosted their consumption

The upward trend in consumption of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is good news, notes ADA spokeswoman Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, PhD, RD, who presented the survey results today in Chicago at the ADA's annual meeting.

"It was encouraging to see those findings," Gazzaniga-Moloo tells WebMD.

Here are the top five foods or nutrients that participants report reducing during the past five years.

  • Trans fat: 56% say they've cut back on foods containing trans fat
  • Beef: 41% say they're eating less beef
  • Pork: 33% report eating less pork
  • Dairy: 23% say they've cut back
  • Low-sugar foods: 20% say they've cut back

Gazzaniga-Moloo says people may be cutting back on beef, pork, and dairy because of cost and the hunt for lower-fat foods. But she points out that "there are lower-fat alternatives within those three foods -- beef, pork, and dairy -- [and that] they do provide an excellent source of certain nutrients," such as calcium, protein, and vitamin D in dairy products, and protein, iron, and B vitamins in pork and dairy.

More People Eating Better

More people are improving their attitude toward diet and exercise and taking action for a healthier diet, according to the survey.

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