Americans lead the way in eating non-naked foods

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Will it surprise you if I shared that Americans eat more packaged food than their counterparts in almost every other country? A recent New York Times article shared that we eat 31% more non-naked foods (pre-prepared, refined, packaged food, made with the goals of speed and convenience trumping nutrition and health) than fresh food. Refined, packaged, non-naked foods have been shown to lead to higher rates of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

One more reason among many to Eat Naked!

Here’s the full article for your perusal:

Factory Food,
Hannah Fairfield, Published in The New York Times April 3, 2010

No country has embraced the movement toward commercialized, prepackaged food as much as the United States.

Americans eat 31 percent more packaged food than fresh food, and they consume more packaged food per person than their counterparts in nearly all other countries. A sizable part of the American diet is ready-to-eat meals, like frozen pizzas and microwave dinners, and sweet or salty snack foods.

“Americans tend to graze rather than sit down and eat a full meal, so the food is tailored for convenience,” said Mark Gehlhar, who has studied global food consumer preferences at the Economic Research Service of the Agriculture Department. “And Americans do not seem to be as discerning about quality.”

T. Colin Campbell, a nutritionist at Cornell University, said that “there is a lot of money tied up in the industry because it is profitable for companies to make these foods.” He added that “Processed foods contain large amounts of fat, salt and sugar, and Americans have become addicted to them.”

But epidemiologic studies have shown that diets with higher levels of fat, salt and sugar lead to higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

The Japanese eat a large amount of packaged frozen seafood, but it undergoes very little processing and has few chemical additives. Some Europeans eat a similar amount of packaged food per capita as Americans, but much of it is bakery bread and dairy products, rather than things like frozen toaster pastries and artificial nondairy creamer.


  1. It’s not really surprising. If we look at how unhealthy we are as a nation, how obese we are, we need only point to our change in eating habits – on and texting while driving instead of talking while walking.

  2. Great explanation about the health benefits of grass fed beef over corn-fed beef on the site. You give great information. I know it’s not particularly relevant to this post, but I didn’t know where to comment on it.

    • admin


      Thank you! I actually just posted a copy of the Q&A in my most recent blog post “Nutritional Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef” and will keep posting these answers as a regular thing. Thanks for the great feedback!

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