Dietary sources of nutrients among US adults, 1994 to 1996

J Am Diet Assoc. 2004 Jun;104(6):921-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2004.03.019.


Objective: To identify major food sources of 30 nutrients and dietary constituents among US adults during 1994 to 1996, and to compare them with those identified for 1989 to 1991.

Design: A total of 6419 foods were assigned to 112 food groups based on similarities in nutrient content or use. These foods included 3778 food mixtures disaggregated by the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) FoodLink computerized research tool, so ingredients could be assigned to the appropriate groups and nutrient values ascribed accordingly.Subjects/setting Single 24-hour dietary recalls from a nationally representative sample of 10019 adults aged 19 years or older in USDA's 1994 to 1996 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals were used. Statistical analyses performed The population proportion formula was used to determine weighted nutrient intakes by food groups. Results were tabulated in descending rank order for food groups providing at least 1% of total nutrient intake.

Results: Dietary food sources found for 1994 to 1996 were fairly consistent with 1989 to 1991 results for the rank order and proportion these sources made to total nutrient intakes. Remarkable changes were seen in the higher proportion of energy from alcoholic beverages, in the shifts in the proportion of total fat and fatty acids from oil (higher ranked) and margarine (lower ranked), and in the lower proportion of vitamins and minerals from ready-to-eat cereals.

Conclusions: Despite changes in survey methodology, the food supply, and eating patterns, food sources of nutrients among US adults in 1994 to 1996 and 1989 to 1991 were similar. The 1994 to 1996 data are the first known national population estimates for dietary sources of vitamin A (retinol equivalents), selenium, caffeine, and theobromine among US adults.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Diet / standards*
  • Diet Records
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Food / classification*
  • Food / standards
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall
  • Minerals / administration & dosage
  • Nutritive Value
  • Theobromine / administration & dosage
  • United States
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage


  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Carotenoids
  • Caffeine
  • Theobromine