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FAT IN THE NATIONAL DIET The diet of the American consumer is varied, and in most house- holds, according to our present knowledge, it is nutritionally sound (56, 192). The increases in dietary levels of some of the nutrients in food-consumption surveys conducted between 1936 and 1955 were achieved in part by a greater consumption of meat and milk. According to the 1955 survey, fat accounted for 44 percent of the calories in the food that families used. In 1948, it accounted for 42 percent, and in 1936, 38 percent of the calories. Adjust- ment for discarded food would cause a decrease of perhaps 1 or 2 percent. Thus, in this 20-year period, a trend toward a higher proportion of the calorie intake as fat was evident (192). About 40 percent of the fat in the American diet comes from fats purchased as suchâmargarine, shortening, salad and cooking oils, and butterâand much of this is consumed as ingredients of bakery products and other foods. About 60 percent of the fat in the American diet is supplied by such foods as meats (35 percent), dairy products excluding butter (15 percent), and nuts and cereals (10 percent) (191). The extent to which fat contributes to the caloric value of selected foods is shown by the following approximations. In whole milk, fat contributes about 50 percent of the calories; in cheddar cheese, 70 percent; and in eggs, 65 percent. Fat accounts for 65 percent of the calories in broiled hamburger, 80 percent in cooked frankfurters, 40 percent in canned pink salmon, and 30 percent in chipped beef. In a rib roast of beef, fat furnishes over 82 percent of the calories when both lean and fat are eaten but only 50 percent when the separable fat is discarded. In 1963, the total fat of foods marketed in the United States provided 145 grams of fat per person per day (190). Of this total, saturated fatty acids accounted for 37 percent, oleic acid for 40 percent, and linoleic acid for 12 percent. For 30 years, there has been practically no change in the quantity of saturated fatty acids in marketed foods, but the polyunsaturated fatty acid content has increased. The ratio of polyunsaturated (linoleic) to
1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 I960 1970 Figure 1. Trends in per capita civilian consumption of basic food nu- trients. Data for 1964 shown by end points. (5-year moving average.) 80 1950 1954 1958 1962 1966 Figure 2. Trends in per capita food consumption of selected food- stuffs combined in terms of constant retail prices. Preliminary data for 1965 shown by end points. (Data on fruits and vegetables exclude melons, soup, and baby foods.) % OF 1909-13 _Dairy products (incl. butter.) Potatoes and sweetpotatoes 100 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 Figure 3. Trends in per capita civilian consumption of selected food- stuffs, using constant retail prices as index weights. Data for 1965 shown by end points. (5-year moving averages centered.) Figures 1, 2, and 3 from U.S. Department of Agriculture
Fat in the National Diet saturated fatty acids has progressively increased from 0.23 in 1936 to 0.33 in 1963. Increased use of salad and cooking oilsâ notably soybean, corn, and cottonseed oilsâand of poultry has con- tributed to the increase in linoleic acid (191). Some indication of the trends in food consumption in the United States is shown in Figures 1, 2, and 3.