A New Years Weigh-in of What We Ate This Past Year

By: Michele Wolfson

If you workout on a regular basis, you will notice how packed the gym gets starting New Year's Day. The treadmill and elliptical machines are all occupied even at an off-hour, such as 2:30 in the afternoon when aerobic machines are usually vacant. This is the time of year when we try to change our ways and begin to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle of diet and exercise.

It all sounds great, but then come March this trend seems to gradually die down and old habits of eating ice cream every night and making excuses to skip the gym become a commonality. It's estimated that the average American eats over one thousand nine hundred ninety-six (1,996) pounds, or nearly one ton of food- by weight - in the course of one year. Oof! That figure is hard to swallow.

The figure comes from economists who crunched food consumption data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Life is sweet, all right-so sweet that each of us will eat the sugar equivalent of 3,628 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in the next 12 months. Impossible, right? Not according to the latest statistics, which show that the average American eats 141 pounds of the sweet stuff a year. Not to mention the 85 pounds of fat (think margarine) that was consumed over the course of this year.

Let's move on to dairy: We consume about 630 pounds of milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream per year.

Add in meat and poultry: That's about 185 pounds of chicken, turkey, pork and beef per person (though beef consumption is trending downward. It was another disappointing year for red meat enthusiasts. All news points to limiting consumption). Wheat and other grains that we shoveled down our gullets total 197 pounds.

Two hundred seventy-three (273) pounds per person of fruit was consumed, which may seem promising, but remember that most of it is water weight and few Americans eat the recommended five fruits a day. While we do get some 415 pounds of vegetables into our diet each year, the most popular choices (corn and potatoes) aren't exactly nutritionally rich.

We have a serious problem in our country when it comes to the cost of healthcare and these statistics show that Americans are gorging on sugar and fats that are not health supportive. Diseases like diabetes and heart failure are leading causes of death in our nation, so perhaps it's time for us to substitute the yellow and white vegetables with some green ones and to find healthier ways to satisfy our sweet tooth.

How much do you think you ate last year?

Photo: nettsu

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