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Monitoring Foods and Nutrients Sold and Consumed in the United States: Dynamics and Challenges

Published:December 22, 2011DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2011.09.015
      The food products available, purchased, and consumed in the United States are changing rapidly (
      • Pennington J.A.T.
      • Stumbo P.J.
      • Murphy S.P.
      • et al.
      Food composition data: The foundation of dietetic practice and research.
      ), yet there is little understanding among dietetics practitioners of the nature of these changes and what they mean for nutritional health. In 2010, we identified >85,000 uniquely formulated products in the US food system (
      • Ng S.W.
      • Slining M.M.
      • Popkin B.M.
      Sweeteners in the US Food Supply and the Role of Fruit Juice Concentrates.
      ), although there were approximately 7,600 foods with unique nutrient compositions in the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) food composition tables (FCTs) (
      US Department of Agriculture
      WWEIA/NHANES and FNDDS-List of Nutrients/Food Components (Unit).
      ). In addition, the USDA updates the nutrient composition of foods in the FCTs periodically, while the food industry claims to be making key product reformulations (on calories, sodium, sugar, trans fat, and other saturated fat) as part of major commitments (
      Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation
      The Marketplace: Controlling Calories While Preserving Nutrition Healthy Weight Commitment.
      ,
      Walmart
      Walmart launches major initiative to make food healthier and healthier food more affordable.
      ), along with shifts in industry norms and government regulations.
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      Biography

      S. W. Ng is an assistant professor, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

      Biography

      B. M. Popkin is W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.