Submitted to: Worldwide Web Site: Food Surveys Research Group
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/16/2018
Publication Date: 2/21/2018
Citation: Sebastian, R.S., Enns, C.W., Goldman, J.D., Hoy, M.K., Moshfegh, A.J. 2018. Salad Consumption in the U.S.: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2011-2014. Worldwide Web Site: Food Surveys Research Group. Available: www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=19476.
Interpretive Summary: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 suggest eating more salad as one way to increase vegetable intake. However, information about current salad consumption in the U.S. has been lacking. We used nationwide survey data to look at who eats salad, when they eat it, where they get it from, what it contains, and how much it contributes to energy and nutrient intake. We found that one out of five people ate a salad on the survey day. A higher percentage of females than males ate salad. Salad consumption was greater in higher income households than in lower income households. About one-half of salads were eaten at dinner, and most of the rest were eaten at lunch. About one-half of all salads (or their ingredients) came from a store. Most salads contained leafy greens such as lettuce, and most included a dressing. For people who ate a salad on the survey day, salads provided around one-tenth of their total daily energy intake. Salads also made notable contributions to intakes of some nutrients that tend to be low in the U.S., such as dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. This new look at salad consumption can inform policymakers, dietitians, nutritionists, and consumers about the role currently played by salads in the nutrient intake of the U.S. population.
Technical Abstract: Vegetable intake is associated with reduced risk of chronic disease, yet few individuals in the U.S. consume amounts consistent with national recommendations. One strategy for boosting vegetable consumption proposed in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 is to include vegetable dishes, such as salads, in most meals and snacks. However, the extent to which this strategy is employed is unknown because no recent estimates of salad consumption are available. The objectives of this study were to describe consumption of salads and their contributions to nutrient intakes in the U.S. In this analysis, “salad” was defined as a mixture composed mainly of raw vegetables. One day of dietary intake from 16,392 individuals age >= 1 year participating in What We Eat in America, NHANES 2011-2014 was analyzed. Two-sided t-tests were used to compare percentages reporting salad by sex. Regression analyses were used to identify linear trends in salad consumption by income. On any given day, 20% of individuals in the U.S. consume a salad. Among all individuals age >= 1 year and in the subgroups 40-59 years and >= 60 years, a larger percentage of females than males consumed salad (p<0.001). Salad consumption was positively associated with household income for all individuals (age >= 1 year) and among middle-aged (40-59 years) and older (>= 60 years) adults. Regardless of age group, a store was the predominant source of salads or salad ingredients. The mean energy contribution from salads among salad reporters was 234 kcal for adults age >= 20 years and 166 kcal for children age 1-19 years. Salads made substantial contributions to intakes of some nutrients that tend to be lower than recommendations, including dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Salads based on raw vegetables are a commonly reported food in the U.S. This report provides valuable information about salads that can be used in nutrition guidance efforts to promote increased vegetable consumption.