The Unexpected Number Of People Who Eat Very Few Vegetables

Vegetables are nutritional powerhouses, chock full of dietary fiber and antioxidants, plus plenty of healthy vitamins and minerals, as noted by WebMD. But healthy as vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, and carrots may be, Americans still don't seem to eat enough of them. This unfortunate fact was confirmed by a 2015 study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which also found that Americans weren't eating enough fruit. According to the study, a mere 12.2% of the population ate the recommended amount of fruit, and even less, 9.3%, ate enough vegetables.

In search of a more up-to-date portrait of the American diet, Tasting Table recently polled readers to discover which of the food groups they eat least, and yes ... vegetables were still at the top of the list. Of the 515 people we surveyed, 26.02% (or 134 respondents) confirmed that vegetables were the food type they consumed least. There are reasons, of course, why this unexpectedly high percentage of people still don't eat enough vegetables — including the rising costs of fresh produce — and we're not here to food shame them. But we are happy to report that fruit wasn't the second least consumed food group in our poll.

The food groups Americans like best ... and least

The second least consumed food group was dairy, with 22.52% of responders declaring it's the group they consumed the least. This doesn't come as a shock. Statistical trends show that plant-based milks like oat and almond milk are on the rise, while traditional dairy milk from cows continues to decline in popularity. In fact, according to Investment Monitor, dairy milk availability declined at an annual rate of about 2.5% between 2010 and 2017.

Meanwhile, fruits and grains tied for the third least consumed food group. Each garnered 107 votes or 20.78% of the responses. The fewest responses for "least consumed" went to protein. No surprise here, either. Only 9.90% (51 respondents) claimed they ate proteins like chicken, beef, and pork, the least of all of the food groups. Since an estimated 10% of American adults identify as vegetarian or vegan, per The Conversation, these numbers seem to align almost perfectly.