The average American consumes too few fruits, vegetables, whole grains and high fiber foods and too many refined foods and food items high in fats and added sugars. According to the USDA, added sugars and solid fats contribute about 35 percent of the daily caloric intake of the average American.
The USDA's Economic Research Service estimates that the average, daily caloric intake in 2000 was just below 2,700 calories per person. The daily allotment, however, is much lower. For moderately active women, the average daily caloric allotment is anywhere from 1,800 to 2,200 depending on age and level of activeness. For men, the corresponding numbers range between 2,200 and 2,800.
These numbers are up by almost 25 percent, or 530 calories, when comparing the daily caloric intake averages of 1970 and 2000. Of the 24.5 percent increase, added fats and oils contributed 9.0 percentage points, while fruits and vegetables together contributed only 1.5 percentage points. These numbers suggest that not only are Americans eating more and more, but they're simultaneously eating less and less healthy.
An important factor contributing to the high-calorie and high-fat diets Americans are eagerly gobbling up is fast food. About a quarter of Americans eat fast food every single day, according to "Fast Food Nation" author Eric Schlosser. In addition to the Americans who willingly consume fast food year round, many Americans affected by the economic recession have also increased their fast food consumption.
Many of the fast food items that Americans consume -- from burgers piled high with multiple patties and slathered with mayonnaise-based sauces to stuffed burritos dripping with sour cream and topped with different varieties of cheese--come loaded with an entire day's caloric allotment.
Findthebest.com compares fast food nutrition from the top 29 fast food restaurants in the U.S. The restaurants include all the national chains that provided primary sourced nutritional information. Here are the 10 fattiest options: