Dietary sources of nutrients among US adults, 1989 to 1991

J Am Diet Assoc. 1998 May;98(5):537-47. doi: 10.1016/S0002-8223(98)00122-9.


Objective: To identify major food sources of 27 nutrients and dietary constituents for US adults.

Design: Single 24-hour dietary recalls were used to assess intakes. From 3,970 individual foods reported, 112 groups were created on the basis of similarities in nutrient content or use. Food mixtures were disaggregated using the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) food grouping system.

Subjects/setting: A nationally representative sample of adults aged 19 years or older (n = 10,638) from USDA's 1989-91 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals. ANALYSES PERFORMED: For each of 27 dietary components, the contribution of each food group to intake was obtained by summing the amount provided by the food group for all respondents and dividing by total intake from all food groups for all respondents.

Results: This article updates previous work and is, to the authors' knowledge the first to provide such data for carotenes, vitamin B-12, magnesium, and copper. Beef, yeast bread, poultry, cheese, and milk were among the top 10 sources of energy, fat, and protein. The following other major sources also contributed more than 2% to energy intakes: carbohydrate: yeast bread, soft drinks/soda, cakes/cookies/ quick breads/doughnuts, sugars/syrups/jams, potatoes (white), ready-to-eat cereal, and pasta; protein: pasta; and fat: margarine, salad dressings/mayonnaise, and cakes/ cookies/quick breads/doughnuts. Ready-to-eat cereals, primarily because of fortification, were among the top 10 food sources for 18 of 27 nutrients.

Applications/conclusions: These analyses are the most current regarding food sources of nutrients and, because of disaggregation of mixtures, provide a truer picture of contributions of each food group.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Diet Records
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Humans
  • Minerals / administration & dosage
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage


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