Dear America, More than Half Your Diet is Junk Food

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1. INTRODUCTION

About 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food goes to buy processed food.1,2,3 What’s worse, new research shows that, astonishingly, more than half—nearly 60 percent, in fact—of the food Americans eat is ULTRA-processed.4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11

Basically, half of what the average American eats in any given day are convenience foods that can be bought at your local gas station.

Moreover, those ultra-processed foods account for 90 percent of the added sugar consumption in the U.S.  Data from a nationally representative food survey was used for this study, which found that:

  • On average, 57.9 percent of the calories people eat comes from ultra-processed foods
  • 29.6 percent of calories comes from unprocessed or minimally processed foods (such as meats, eggs, milk, and pasta)
  • Processed but not ultra-processed foods (such as canned or preserved foods, cured meats and cheeses) account for 9.4 percent of calories
  • 2.9 percent of calories comes from “processed culinary ingredients” such as vegetable oil, table salt, and sugar
  • Less than 1 percent of daily calories comes from vegetables

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