The good news: Americans are not snarfing down as much fat as we were in 1980.
The bad news: We’ve still got a way to go before the experts at the American Heart Association are satisfied with the way we chew (or don't chew) the fat.
Americans’ consumption of trans fats dropped by about a third and consumption of saturated fats decreased as well between 1980 and 2009, and consumption of healthy omega-3 fatty acids remained steady, but lower than recommendations, according to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
“Other studies have previously shown a decline in trans fat intake over time, but our study is the first to look at such a long period of time,” lead author Mary Ann Honors of the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis told Reuters Health. “Trans fat intake declined by over one third, which was great to see.”
The study included 12,500 people enrolled in the Minnesota Heart Study. Subjects described in detail what they’d eaten of the past 24 hours in a series of six surveys over 30 years. Researchers compared their reported types and amounts of nutrients with recommendations from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and AHA recommendations.
If Americans consumed more omega-3s, it may not just make the folks at AHA headquarters happy. Recent research suggests omega-3s may help fight depression.