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Nutrient Content of the U.S. Food Supply, 2000-2006

Resource type
Research, Analysis & Background
Research type
Food/Nutrient Analysis
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Final report (6.44 MB)

This report presents historical data on the availability of nutrients in the U.S. food supply. The data and trends presented in this report are invaluable for monitoring the potential of the food supply to meet nutritional needs; for examining relationships between food supplies, diet, and health; and for examining dietary trends of Americans.

Additionally, food supply nutrient estimates reflect federal enrichment and fortification standards and technological advances in the food industry and contribute to the federal dietary guidance system. As such, these data are of interest to agricultural policymakers, economists, nutrition researchers, and nutrition and public health educators. Data are provided for food energy and the energy-yielding nutrients. This summary report highlights changes between 2000 and 2006.

Key Findings
  • In 2000 and 2006, food energy levels were at 3,900 kilocalories, the highest level in the series. This level reflects higher levels of macronutrients, principally fat, between 2000 and 2006.
  • Cholesterol levels were higher in 2006 than in 2000, reflecting a slight increase in the use of meat, poultry, and fish.
  • The level of carbohydrate between 2000 and 2006 decreased but was at the highest level over the series. This reflects a fluctuation of grain consumption and a slight decrease in the use of sugars and sweeteners.
  • The level of dietary fiber was almost the same between 2000 and 2006. The high level of dietary fiber during this period was attributable mainly to consumption of grain products.
  • Levels for most vitamins and minerals were higher in 2000 than in 2006.
    • Higher levels of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron reflect federal enrichment standards and the greater use of enriched grain products.
    • The higher folate level in 2000 reflects folate fortification of grain products beginning in 1998.
    • The level of vitamin A was higher in 2000 than in 2006, but this level fluctuated over this period depending on the mix of animal and plant foods in the food supply, as well as that available due to fortification of certain foods with vitamin A.
    • The higher carotene level is linked to the increased use of vegetables, such as broccoli and carrots.
    • Although the vitamin C fluctuated between 2000 and 2006, the amount available was still the highest over the series. The higher vitamin C levels were due to increased vegetables and fruits availability, especially citrus fruits.
    • The high vitamin E level between 2000 and 2006 reflects the greater use of vegetable fats and oils and is associated with the increase of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
    • Higher calcium and phosphorus levels between 2000 and 2006 reflect the increased consumption of low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products, such as dairy desserts.
    • The availability of both copper and selenium were about the same between 2000 and 2006.
    • High sodium levels indicate the availability of more processed foods, such as cheese and canned vegetables.
    • Levels for vitamin B12 were stable between 2000 and 2006, and potassium levels were lower in 2006 than in 2000. The levels of vitamin B12 during this period were due to sustained consumption of meats especially organ meats; whereas, the lower levels of potassium reflect lower consumption of plant foods, and fresh potatoes in particular.
Page updated: November 21, 2023