The 13 Top Foods We Eat in the US

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 01/19/2024

Let's talk about the fuel that powers America – not gasoline, but the food on our plates. It's a mix of comfort and convenience: those grain-based desserts we can't resist, bread at every meal, fried chicken by the bucketfuls. We've all been there.

Sure, these foods are tasty as heck, and they're everywhere you look. But here’s what’s wild: they pack more than just flavor. These staples come with health concerns like high blood pressure and metabolic mayhem.

Now imagine swapping out those calorie bombs for power-packed alternatives like fresh greens or succulent fish without losing an ounce of satisfaction. That sounds pretty good. Stick around because I'm going to show you how it's done!

The Caloric Culprits: Top Sources of Calories in the US

Picture this: a slice of warm, gooey chocolate cake or fluffy bread straight from the oven. Tempting, right? Well, these grain-based desserts and breads are not just comforting but also leading contributors to calorie intake across America.

Grain-Based Desserts and Bread

It's no secret that Americans love their sweets and carbs. From donuts at meetings to sandwiches for lunch, these foods pack more than flavor; they also deliver a hefty dose of calories.

And while we all need energy to power through our day-to-day activities, excess caloric intake can lead us down an unhealthy path.

A closer look reveals that it’s not just about how much we eat but also what we eat. Take grain-based treats; most contain refined flour and sugar—ingredients linked with weight gain when consumed in large amounts.

The Fried Chicken Phenomenon

Fried chicken is another beloved American staple—a crunchy comfort food many families enjoy during gatherings or simply as a quick meal option.

But beneath that crispy coating lies more than juicy meat; there's also significant calorie content often accompanied by saturated fats, which aren't great for heart health when eaten frequently.

Woman drinking cranberry juice

Sugary Drinks on the Rise

Regarding beverages, sugary drinks such as sodas have become almost ubiquitous with meals in some households—but they contribute empty calories without providing any nutritional benefits.

Interestingly enough, there has been an uptick in consumption despite growing awareness about their link with obesity-related diseases like diabetes type 2 according to research shared by Harvard School of Public Health.

To combat this trend towards high-calorie diets filled with processed foods, let's remember variety is essential alongside moderation. Making informed choices can help us balance enjoying life’s culinary pleasures and caring for our bodies long-term.

Health Hazards Linked to Popular US Foods

Amidst the diverse and widely consumed options, some foods may harbor risks that warrant attention.

This examination aims to shed light on the interconnected relationship between certain popular U.S. foods and potential health concerns, fostering informed decision-making for individuals navigating their dietary landscape.

From Tiredness to Metabolic Syndrome

The energy slump we know too well could be more than a lack of sleep. It's often the aftermath of a sugar crash, thanks to those grain-based desserts and breads that top our calorie charts.

But the story doesn't end with feeling tired; these foods are frequent flyers on the road to metabolic syndrome—a collection of conditions including high blood pressure, excess belly fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels.

This combination is no minor fry issue—it sets the stage for serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes. And let's not forget about those pesky cravings for carbs that keep you coming back for more, driving an endless cycle of hunger and irritability.

The Sodium and MSG Connection

We've heard it time again—too much salt is bad news. Yet many American favorites come loaded with sodium, leading to fluid retention and skyrocketing blood pressure numbers faster than you can say "pass the salt."

Then there’s monosodium glutamate (MSG), lurking in various packaged foods as a flavor enhancer but also stirring up health concerns related to headaches or allergic reactions in some individuals.

Keeping clear from these hidden hazards means keeping an eye on labels because sometimes, what you don't know can hurt your health game plan.

Nutritional Composition of Common American Foods

America's dining table is like a melting pot with diverse flavors. But let's face it: some ingredients are getting too much love. We're talking about the sodium and MSG that pack a punch in many favorite dishes.

These sneaky additions have made themselves cozy in foods we can't resist.

Think grain-based desserts and your morning slice of bread—sweet on the lips but not so sweet for our health when eaten often. They might be high-fiving your taste buds, but they're playing dodgeball with potassium and B vitamins, which barely make it onto the plate.

The real kicker? These everyday foods also juggle high levels of refined ingredients that could send anyone’s nutritional balance off-kilter.

To get into specifics, these popular picks are low-key culprits contributing to less-than-stellar health outcomes when consumed regularly without moderation or counterbalance from nutrient-rich food choices.

Embracing Healthier Alternatives

Tired of the same old high-calorie meals? Let's shake things up. Swap out those grain-based desserts for a bowl full of berries. Berries aren't just tiny bursts of flavor; they're also loaded with antioxidants and fiber.

If you think salads are just sad lettuce leaves, think again. Mix some avocados and nuts with your greens for a creamy texture and a satisfying crunch. These additions are delicious and bring heart-healthy fats to your plate.

Fish, especially fatty ones like sardines, serve up omega-3s, which can boost brain health. And let's talk eggs—pasture-raised or organic options give you all the protein without the side order of guilt associated with conventional farming practices.

Moving on from traditional meats doesn’t mean giving up taste when grass-fed varieties offer more decadent flavors and better nutritional profiles than their grain-fed counterparts. Cooking them in olive oil adds an extra layer of heart-friendly monounsaturated fats.

Last but certainly not least, ditching butter for its grass-fed version can add depth to dishes while keeping trans fats at bay. Harvard School of Public Health even nods towards these healthier fat choices for overall wellness benefits. So go ahead, indulge smartly.

Making the Transition to a Healthier Diet

Shifting gears towards a healthier diet doesn't mean saying goodbye to your favorite foods; it's about tweaking them. For example, you can create a masterpiece with almond flour crust and fresh veggie toppings instead of that greasy pizza loaded with refined carbs.

The same goes for pasta dishes—swapping out traditional noodles for spiraled zucchini or spaghetti squash is inventive and infuses your meal with nutrients without skimping on flavor.

Discovering New Recipes for Old Favorites

Finding joy in cooking comes from experimentation. You'll learn that whipping up nutritious versions of beloved classics isn't just possible—it's downright delicious.

Take the classic burger: swap the beef patty for one made from black beans or lentils, and you've got an antioxidant-rich feast.

This twist on tradition gives "comfort food" a new meaning, proving that healthy eating can be as comforting as beneficial. Who knew avocados could make such creamy chocolate pudding?

By exploring these culinary swaps, you're not just treating your taste buds but fueling your body right.

Overcoming Cravings with Nutrient-Dense Snacks

The key to curbing cravings lies in preparation. Stock up on snacks like roasted chickpeas sprinkled with paprika, which pack protein and zest, or try Greek yogurt topped with berries when sweet urges strike.

It’s all about balancing satiety and pleasure without reaching for those calorie-dense temptations.

Remember, transitioning doesn’t have to be daunting—with some creativity and these tips, every snack becomes an opportunity to nourish well-being while keeping taste front and center.

Keto Cheeseburger Casserole Side view

A Culinary Exploration

Embark on a culinary journey as we decode the Top 13 Foods in the US, unraveling the unique flavors that define American cuisine.

Amidst this exploration, savor a delectable twist with the Keto Cheeseburger Casserole, a delightful blend of flavors that caters to taste and health-conscious preferences.

This innovative dish offers a satisfying experience while adhering to the principles of a ketogenic lifestyle.


Take this to heart: the top 13 foods we eat in the US can be a slippery slope to health issues. Take it seriously: small swaps can lead to significant changes. Take action: you've got what you need now.

Ditching sugary drinks for water and reaching for greens instead of fries are game changers. Think about those calorie counts and how easily they add up with bread and desserts alone.

Eating better isn't about missing out; it's finding new favorites that love you back. Remember those healthy alternatives like nuts, avocados, and berries? They're your friends on this journey.

So make today the day you start feeling good about what's on your plate!

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