In a perfect world, we would fill our plates with a variety of healthy foods and many different colored produce at every meal. Then we would sleep easy each night knowing our body is getting the nutrients it needs to function well on a daily basis and continue to do well over time.
But sadly it is not that easy. And considering the statistics about the common nutritional gaps in the average American’s diet, the struggle is very real for more people—and it’s one that must be taken seriously.
The largest nutrient gaps Americans face
Even if you believe you eat a healthy diet, it is very possible that you are falling short on something. In fact, almost one third of Americans are now at risk of being straight-up deficient in one nutrient at least, which means they could risk significant health problems.
To get a sense of how many people are falling short on vital nutrients, even if not badly enough to be seen as deficient, and it is even clearer that our diets just are not working for us.
The 2015–2020 American Dietary Guidelines found that vitamins D, A, E, and C, and magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron was “under-consumed nutrients.” Of these, we are so low on calcium, vitamin D, iron, and potassium that they are said to be “nutrients of public health concern.”
Just how short are we though? Here is a look. According to national numbers, over 30% of adults come in under EAR (estimated average requirement) on eight crucial nutrients when depending on diet alone:
- 33% do not meet vitamin A requirements
- 35% do not meet vitamin C requirements
- 93% do not meet vitamin D requirements
- 80% do not mee vitamin E requirements
- 69% do not meet vitamin K requirements
- 38% do not meet calcium requirements
- 43% do not meet magnesium requirements
- 97% do not meet potassium requirements
What is especially important—and worrying—is that while the EAR is the current benchmark that researchers use to assess the overall population’s diet quality, it is still far from the best ideal. You see, while these recommended allowances are the average nutrient intake estimated to support the needs of almost every healthy person, the benchmark is the average amount of nutrients estimated to do the job done for around half of these people.
This means the above numbers are very conservative, and the real micronutrient gaps of Americans could be much worse.
Author: Scott Dowdy