Food sources of energy and nutrients among adults in the US: NHANES 2003–2006

Nutrients. 2012 Dec 19;4(12):2097-120. doi: 10.3390/nu4122097.


Identification of current food sources of energy and nutrients among US adults is needed to help with public health efforts to implement feasible and appropriate dietary recommendations. To determine the food sources of energy and 26 nutrients consumed by US adults the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 24-h recall (Day 1) dietary intake data from a nationally representative sample of adults 19+ years of age (y) (n = 9490) were analyzed. An updated USDA Dietary Source Nutrient Database was developed for NHANES 2003-2006 using current food composition databases. Food grouping included ingredients from disaggregated mixtures. Mean energy and nutrient intakes from food sources were sample-weighted. Percentages of total dietary intake contributed from food sources were ranked. The highest ranked sources of energy and nutrients among adults more than 19 years old were: energy - yeast bread/rolls (7.2%) and cake/cookies/quick bread/pastry/pie (7.2%); protein-poultry (14.4%) and beef (14.0%); total fat - other fats and oils (9.8%); saturated fatty acids - cheese (16.5%) and beef (9.1%); carbohydrate - soft drinks/soda (11.4%) and yeast breads/rolls (10.9%); dietary fiber - yeast breads/rolls (10.9%) and fruit (10.2%); calcium - milk (22.5%) and cheese (21.6%); vitamin D - milk (45.1%) and fish/shellfish (14.4%); and potassium - milk (9.6%) and coffee/tea/other non-alcoholic beverages (8.4%). Knowledge of primary food sources of energy and nutrients can help health professionals design effective strategies to reduce excess energy consumed by US adults and increase the nutrient adequacy of their diets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • United States
  • Young Adult