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Away-From-Home Foods Increasingly Important to Quality of American Diet

by Biing-Hwan Lin, Elizabeth Frazão, and Joanne Guthrie

Agriculture Information Bulletin No. (AIB-749) 26 pp, January 1999

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The increasing popularity of dining out over the past two decades has raised the proportion of nutrients obtained from away-from-home food sources. Between 1977 and 1995, home foods significantly improved their nutritional quality, more so than away-from-home foods, which typically contained more of the nutrients overconsumed (fat and saturated fat) and less of the nutrients underconsumed (calcium, fiber, and iron) by Americans. Since the trend of eating out frequently is expected to continue, strategies to improve the American diet must address consumers' food choices when eating out. This report analyzes food intake survey data collected by USDA over the past two decades to compare the nutritional quality of home and away-from-home foods and examine how the quality has changed over time.

Keywords: Food, away-from-home food, nutrients, eating out

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Last updated: Friday, April 19, 2013

For more information contact: Biing-Hwan Lin, Elizabeth Frazão, and Joanne Guthrie

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