BETHESDA, MD. — Nearly the entire U.S. population consumes a diet that is not on par with recommendations with the federal MyPyramid, according to a study appearing on-line Aug. 11 in The Journal of Nutrition and involving researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion in Alexandra, Va.

“These findings add another piece to the rather disturbing picture that is emerging of a nation’s diet in crisis,” the researchers said.

They obtained data for 16,338 people age 2 and older from the 2001-04 NHANES. Quantities of food reported on 24-hour recalls were translated into amounts of various food groups using the MyPyramid equivalents database.

More than 80% of people age 71 or younger and more than 90% of all other sex-age groups had intakes of empty calories that exceeded the discretionary calorie allowances. The majority of the population failed to meet recommendations for all of the nutrient-rich food groups, except total grains and meat and beans.

Overconsumption of energy from solid fats, added sugars and alcoholic beverages was ubiquitous.