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New research is helping shape the understanding of what Americans are eating and where this food is coming from. In a time when the sheer number and choices of food products is constantly growing, the options of where we can buy our food is also changing. The study, found in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, focused specifically on packaged food purchases, which are not only taking up a larger share of store shelves, but are also the default option for many American families.

The authors provide a new angle to the growing body of research around access to grocery stores and healthy food; they highlight the fact that little data on where people actually shop, and what they buy, currently exist.

Interesting findings of this study show that food purchased in grocery store chains consistently had the lowest number of calories and better nutrient densities. Convenience stores were found to have food with the most sugar and foods purchased from warehouse clubs had the most sodium. In the twelve years that the study was conducted, the amount of food in American households being purchased at convenience stores, warehouse clubs, and mass merchandisers (like Target or Wal-Mart) increased.

The study also focused on where and what types of beverages are being purchased. While rates of soda consumption have fallen in recent years, this is not consistent among the entire population. Sadly, the majority of food produced and consumed by American children is still junk food. According to the study, 80% of all kids and adults consume over 100 calories of added sugar per day.

The majority of food produced and consumed by American children is still junk food.

An important conclusion of this research is that Americans are now buying their food from multiples sources and, more often than not, it’s not as healthy and nutritious as it should be. It’s yet another reminder of the importance to strive for a healthy, balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or providing the nutritional foundation for a small child. Junk food and sugary beverages may be abundant, but they don’t have to be the go-to staples of your family’s diet.

Look for more upcoming articles and information on Pure Living about how to make healthier diet and nutrition choices for your family, especially as you’re prepping for all the food-heavy festivities of the holiday season!

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