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How many carbs does the average American eat?

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  • How many carbs does the average American eat?

    Does anyone know? I know that the government recommendation is 300g per day (bleh!) but is there any reliable information on how many carbs the average person actually eats? I'm guessing it's more than that, but I can't seem to find a good estimate anywhere. I guess I could extrapolate from the average number of calories (easier to find) and guess a percentage of that as carbs?

    I'm just curious. I have a friend who considers himself "much lower carb than average" just because he doesn't drink soda. He still eats copious amounts of pasta and cereal, though... the sad thing is I think he's probably right

  • #2
    During my CW days, it was about 300+g/day, thanks to a raging addiction to "healthy" Kashi cereal/whole-grain granola bars.


    • #3
      I am not the average American, as I am Dutch. But I'm quite sure your friend is right. Although I'm not sure how many Americans drink diet soda.

      Before I started primal I'd drink a bottle (1.5L) of normal coke on an average day, thats 200g of carbs right there. I ate fat freely so that might have spared me some numbers in carbs. An avaerage breakfast for me was 2 'Frikandelbroodjes' (Dutch food, a frikandel is a sort of wurst from leftover meat pieces like pig, chicken and horse and a frikandelbroodje is that in puff paste ovenbaked) which is a total of 50g carbs. For lunch I'd probably eat two buns with some meat, which gives another 50g carbs. For dinner would be 200gr of pasta with meatsauce, probably 60g carbs. And then I'd snack on some chips or candy, going on chips probably a little more than half a bag which is around 70g carbs.

      There you have it, 230g of carbs in food and 200g of carbs in drinks. Making drinks almost half of the carb intake. Skipping drinks would make a huge difference. THis is without holding back on fat though.


      • #4
        My SAD on an average day would go something like this:

        1 dempster multi-grain bagel (43 g carbs) with cream cheese (2 g carbs) or 2 pkgs quaker instant oatmeal (52 g carbs)
        1 banana (25 g carbs)

        1 slice delissio frozen pizza (40-45 g carbs)
        1 apple (25 g carbs)
        1 pkg oreo thinsations (100 calorie snack! 19 g carbs)

        1 slice pizza (40-50 g carbs)
        1 cup frozen yogurt (35-40 g carbs)

        2 cups rice krispies (45 g carbs)
        1 cup 2% milk (12 g carbs)

        And about six cups of coffee, each with 2% milk and a teaspoon of sugar (add about another 12 g carbs for the milk and 25 g carbs for the sugar)

        Not all my days were this carby (I did eat some meat and vegetables ) but this is how quickly you can get to 400 grams of carbs (or more) in a day eating the 6-11 servings of grains and 2-4 servings of fruit that the food pyramid recommends!
        Newcomers: If you haven't read the book, at least read this thread ... and all the links!

        Jan. 1, 2011: 186.6 lbs PBSW Mar. 1, 2011: 175.8 lbs
        CW: 146.8 lbs
        GW 140 lbs
        A proud member of PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals


        • #5
          lol belinda, you just reminded me of bagels, this was my staple breakfast. a bagel with cream cheese and i was good.

          i laugh at old me

          but not only does the american eat a lot of carbs, he also eats garbage food and drinks a ton of soda.

          i was at a friend's and their recycling bin was FULL of mountain dew. i don't think i've drank that much soda in my 27 years, but i reckon this massive amount is what you americans do on the regular, it was wild.


          • #6
            Even those of us who never ate junk and ate healthy by CW standards were consuming a lot of carbs in the form of fruit juices, nonfat milk and yoghurt, Kashi cereals, brown rice with the tofu and veggie stirfry. That was my typical fare. Plus snacking on air popped popcorn (no butter). Bleh.


            • #7
              When I was on SAD I'd easily get 300-500 gramms of carbohydrates a day.


              • #8
                Thanks for all the responses. I think my worldview is a little warped, these days if I go over 100g carbs I feel like I'm on my way to becoming an obesity statistic. Too much time with paleo folks can make you forget what it's really like out there! It's almost reassuring to know the average eater is well beyond that... And so true, even "healthy" CW diets are higher-carb with all those whole grains.


                • #9
                  I ate easily 300-500g a day. I get sick even thinking about it now.


                  • #10
                    I figured this out a long time ago, I think I figured it at 350-500 a day. We used to eat pasta and bread for supper at least 3 times a week. Blech.


                    • #11
                      I think I used to eat around 400g a day -- lots of Kashi and healthy whole grains! Now it's more like 150 on average. What changed for me wasn't necessarily that Primal turned me off to carbs, but that it turned me on to fat. When my fat consumption increased it displaced a lot of my carbs.

                      Back when I was a teenager I think I got about 400g a day from Pepsi alone...


                      • #12
                        UMMS: Carbohydrate Calculator
                        The above calculator just told me I should be getting 345g per day for a "light" activity level. I'd do the tongue-sticking-out smiley, but that doesn't express my disgust.


                        • #13
                          And lets not forget about all that yummy BEER! Wow, 2 or 3 beers 4-5 times a week. Then factor in the munchie food to go along with it. Pass! I like Primal food lots better.
                          Free your mind, and your Grok will follow!