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John Tozz – How Americans Got So Fat, in Charts

Americans should eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while cutting back on added sugars, sodium, and saturated fat, according to new dietary guidelines published by the federal government Thursday. The guidelines, which influence school lunch menus and federal nutrition policy, also recommend eating more seafood in place of other proteins like meat, poultry, and eggs.

Our poor nutrition has contributed to a generations-long national weight gain. Today two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Half are afflicted with chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure that can often be prevented with better diets.

We didn’t get this way overnight. The average calories available1 to the average American increased 25 percent, to more than 2500, between 1970 and 2010, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s not like we added an extra meal to the day: Rather, an evolution in the type of foods we eat led to steady growth in calories.

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