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Highlights from the May 2008 Journal of the American Dietetic Association

The May 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest. Below is a summary of some of this months articles. For more information or to receive a copy of a Journal article, e-mail

Americans Not Following MyPyramid Advice, Prefer Foods High in Fats and Added Sugars

Americans are not eating the most nutrient-dense forms of the basic food groups recommended in the U.S. Department of Agricultures MyPyramid guidelines. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute found consumers prefer foods that are high in solid fats and added sugars.

The researchers used data from the 2001-2002 National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) and found the countrys population is not following dietary advice. In particular, the findings showed Americans need to eat more fruits, vegetables and fat-free milk and much less solid fats and added sugars.

The research also found consumers need to change the types of vegetables and grains they eat and include more dark-green and orange vegetables, beans and whole grains. Most of the vegetables (83 percent) Americans eat come from the starchy and other vegetables subgroup, notably potatoes and tomatoes. Consumption of whole grains, at just 10 percent of total grains, is far below the recommendation that half or more of all servings come from whole grains.

Sweetened carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, grain-based desserts such as cakes, cookies, donuts and pies, non-skim dairy products and fatty meats were identified as contributing the most to high-energy-dense foods.

The researchers conclude: Food and nutrition professionals would do well to educate consumers about appropriate choices within food groups rather than focusing on achieving a certain number of servings from each food group.

Increased Whole Grain and Fiber Levels for Popcorn Eaters

People who eat popcorn have an approximately 250 percent higher daily intake of whole grains and a 22 percent higher daily intake of fiber than non-popcorn eaters, according to researchers at the Center for Human Nutrition, Nutrition Impact LLC and ConAgra Foods.

Researchers used data from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to determine average popcorn consumption among Americans. Popcorn consumers were identified as anyone eating any amount of popcorn within the past 24 hours before taking the survey.

Total grain consumption was found to be significantly higher (20.8 percent) with significantly lower total meat consumption (14.9 percent) in popcorn eaters.

A high intake of whole-grain foods has been linked with reduced risk for coronary disease, stroke and various types of cancer and may protect against type 2 diabetes. Yet fewer than 10 percent of Americans consume the recommended three servings per day.

The researchers conclude: Popcorn may offer a healthful alternative to energy-dense, low-nutrient-dense snacks, and may have the potential to improve nutrient status in Americans of all ages and help them meet dietary guideline recommendations to consume three whole-grain servings per day.

The American Dietetic Associations Complete Food and Nutrition Guide 3rd Edition (Wiley & Sons 2006) recommends using a hot-air popper which requires no oil, so popcorn can be a quick, low-fat, low-calorie snack.

Funding for this study was provided by ConAgra Foods, Inc.

Additional research articles in the May Journal of the American Dietetic Association include:

  • The Challenge of Treating Obesity: The Endocannabinoid System as a Potential Target

  • Sex May Modify the Effects of Macronutrient Intake on Metabolic Syndrome and Insulin Resistance in American Indians: The Strong Heart Study

  • Development and Reliability Testing for Measures of Psychosocial Constructs Associated with Adolescent Girls Calcium Intake.


Contact: Jennifer Starkey
American Dietetic Association

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