UNCFRP research and comments by Dr. Barry Popkin are featured in the New York Times story by Margot Sanger-Katz, Americans Are Finally Eating Less, published July 24, 2015. The article discusses the gradual decline of calories eaten by Americans over the past several years:
There is no perfect way to measure American calorie consumption. But three large sources of data about diet all point in the same direction. Detailed daily food diaries tracked by government researchers, data from food bar codes and estimates of food production all show reductions in the calories consumed by the average American since the early 2000s. Those signals, along with the flattening of the national obesity rate, have convinced many public health researchers that the changes are meaningful.
This story is the first article in a series titled Scaling Back, which will focus on Americans’ changing eating habits.
A second brief article, It’s Hard to Count Calories, Even for Researchers, goes more in-depth to explain the data sources used in the above-mentioned story, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), data from the United States Department of Agriculture, and commercial data sources. The article features comment from Dr. Popkin, and also succinctly examines the strengths and weaknesses of each data source – while focusing on areas of agreement between the data provided by each source.
All three sources tell us that Americans are consuming fewer caloric beverages than they did a decade ago. Calories from beverages are down in every group in both the Nielsen and Nhanes surveys, and calories from added sugars are dropping in the U.S.D.A. measures.