A new study in the journal Current Problems in Cardiology by researcher Edward Archer, Ph.D. and several colleagues has pointed to serious flaws in the data the USDA relies on to calculate the average number of calories that are present in the American diet.
The researchers looked at the number of calories the USDA says Americans consume and compared them with the number of calories people generally need to stay alive. Using data from 1971-2010, the researchers found that if the USDA data were correct, then a reference person (a hypothetical American established using algorithmic analysis of the data) would have lost nearly eighty pounds between 1971-1980 and also gained more than 215 lbs. between 1988-2010.
While such weight fluctuations aren’t impossible, they’re a rare occurrence at most.
If it were simply the case that the USDA compiled bad data, then there’d be little reason to express alarm. But it turns out the USDA uses these flawed data to inform and set federal dietary policy. Baylen Linnekin explains more.