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LIVESTRONG.COM’s 40 Foods Americans Eat Most Often (and Which Ones to Buy Organic!)

author image Jess Barron
Jess Barron is head of editorial at LIVESTRONG.COM.She has appeared on MSNBC's "The Most," ABC News Now, and XM satellite radio. Barron's writing has appeared on Wired.com, Yahoo! and Poprocks.com.
LIVESTRONG.COM’s 40 Foods Americans Eat Most Often (and Which Ones to Buy Organic!)
Here's to breakfast! Eggs are No. 3 on the list, and coffee is No. 1 with Americans using LIVESTRONG's MyPlate calorie tracker app. Photo Credit Twenty20/CassMcD

We analyzed the past 4 years of food tracking data from millions of users of LIVESTRONG.COM’s MyPlate (and our free iPhone and Android apps). From the over 2 million foods in our database, below are the 40 foods Americans eat most often.

Are you surprised that coffee is the No. 1 most-consumed "food"?

Considering that 54 percent of Americans drink coffee every day, downing 3 cups on average per day, its first-place rank begins to make sense.

Did you know that people in the U.S. spend over $40 billion each year on coffee alone? Yup, that’s billion with a “B”!

Our MyPlate users track coffee most often as "black," followed by "coffee with creamer." While Bulletproof Coffee is gaining popularity among LIVESTRONG’s readers, it still has a long way to go to catch up to the more traditional ways of enjoying a cuppa joe.

Considering that only 1 in 10 Americans eats the recommended 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables daily, we were thrilled to see that LIVESTRONG’s MyPlate users are consuming and tracking their fruits and veggies! Bananas, apples, oranges, tomatoes and carrots were all in the most popular 10 foods tracked! Only one meat (chicken breast) made it into the top 10.

The saying “An apple a day” seems to have some truth to it. Apples come in at No. 4, with the Gala variety most popular, followed by Fujis and Granny Smiths.

Gala apples are the most popular with Americans, followed by Fujis and Granny Smiths.
Gala apples are the most popular with Americans, followed by Fujis and Granny Smiths. Photo Credit Adam Valencia/LIVESTRONG.COM

Press "play" on the video below to see what other foods made the top ten that are essential to buy organic:

10 Foods That Are Essential to Buy Organic

The Dirty Dozen focuses on pesticides in fruits & veggies but there’s something you’re eating every day that’s even dirtier 😝

Posted by LIVESTRONG.COM on Monday, August 21, 2017

It is, perhaps, appropriate that wine came in at No. 21, America’s legal drinking age. MyPlate users seem to prefer red wine, with "dry red wine" most popular, followed by sauvignon blanc (white), cabernet sauvignon (red), malbec (red), merlot (red) and then pinot grigio (white).

With so many people saying "Yes way, rosé!" and "Rosé all day," we were frankly a bit surprised that the blush wine didn't crack the top 6 wines!

Once we recovered from that surprise, we toasted to our users health as it's evident they are making smart decisions when it comes to their favorite wines. Red wine contains the highest amount of heart-healthy antioxidants of any type of wine due to the fact that the skins of red wine grapes are spending the most time in the fermentation. (Rosé fans are making the second healthiest wine choice, by the way.)

We are impressed to see that millions of MyPlate users are already choosing to eat nutritious foods. In the interest of helping more people make the healthiest choices, we investigated which foods most frequently eaten by Americans are most likely to be grown with pesticides that could pose a danger to you and your family members’ health.

Because organic foods and beverages made with organic ingredients typically cost more than their conventional counterparts, we understand that not everyone can afford to buy organic all of the time. So, when is it worth spending on organic, and when does it not really matter?

We've investigated what the risks are in order to better inform you of the steps you can take to lessen your exposure.

To do this, we compared the top 40 foods our users eat to the Environmental Working Group (EWG’s) Dirty Dozen list of produce that is grown with the highest concentration of pesticides as well as with information on the pesticides, fungicides, and natural and synthetic growth hormones (such as rBGH recombinant bovine growth hormone which increases milk output in cows) used in the production of meat, dairy and other foods to come up with LIVESTRONG’s list of the 21 Foods to Always Buy Organic.

Cheers to our users! Red wine comes in at #21 on the list, and red wine is the most popular. It's also most healthy because it's the highest in heart-healthy antioxidants.
Cheers to our users! Red wine comes in at #21 on the list, and red wine is the most popular. It's also most healthy because it's the highest in heart-healthy antioxidants. Photo Credit Kaboompics

2 Beverages to Consider Buying Organic: Coffee and Wine

What we found is th.at there are two foods (beverages really) that many people consume daily that are grown with an excess of pesticides: coffee and wine. We’ve provided a deeper dive into the specific concerns around each of those foods, and helpful guidelines of what to look for when imbibing. Check out our article on The Essential Things to Look for When Buying Coffee.

Grapes are listed in the EWG’s Dirty Dozen, but most people do not eat grapes more than once per week. As evidence, grapes are No. 31 on our list while wine (made from these same conventional grapes, unless labeled certified organic) is something many people consume several times per week as wine is 10 slots higher in popularity due to frequency of times it is tracked.

We have heard our readers tell us that organic foods are expensive, and organic options are not even something that all people have access to, so to help provide the safest non-organic food options we published LIVESTRONG’s helpful list of 16 Foods You Don’t Need to Buy Organic.

Finally, if organic is just too costly or otherwise unavailable to you, please do keep in mind that most health experts say that the health benefits of the vitamins and minerals you get from eating fruits and vegetables most likely outweigh the risks from the pesticide exposure.

The Top 40 Most Popular Foods Tracked on MyPlate

*Bold=Aim to buy organic

*Non-bold=Less essential to buy organic

(See printable graphic version below for more convenience when shopping.)

  1.  Coffee
  2. Bananas
  3. Eggs
  4. Apples
  5. Chicken Breast
  6. Milk
  7. Oranges (including clementines & tangerines)
  8. Cheese
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Carrots
  11. Rice
  12. Bread
  13. Tea (Black, Green, etc)
  14. Spinach
  15. Almonds
  16. Butter
  17. Blueberries
  18. Potatoes
  19. Strawberries
  20. Broccoli
  21. Wine
  22. Cucumbers
  23. Oatmeal
  24. Olive oil
  25. Honey
  26. Beef
  27. Bell Peppers (Red, Green, Yellow & Orange)
  28. Celery
  29. Romaine Lettuce
  30. Sweet Potato
  31. Grapes
  32. Mushrooms
  33. Grapefruit
  34. Pineapple
  35. Ham
  36. Pears
  37. Kale
  38. Yogurt
  39. Green Beans
  40. Chocolate

If you’re skeptical that pesticides are a danger in the food we eat and to our farming system, consider that pesticide exposure has been linked in peer-reviewed studies to:

Plus, an estimated 16.9 million IQ points are lost among U.S. citizens annually as a direct result of pesticide exposure.

To make it easy for our readers to keep this in mind when grocery shopping, we’ve created this handy printable you can either keep with you electronically on your mobile device or print and post on your refrigerator:

The top 40 foods Americans eat most often and which are the most important to buy organic.
The top 40 foods Americans eat most often and which are the most important to buy organic. Photo Credit Gracie Wilson/LIVESTRONG.COM

See "The Essential Things to Look for When Buying Coffee."

If you're concerned like I am about why more people aren't talking about the health concerns with pesticides in the foods we eat most often, start a conversation yourself and share this article on Facebook, Twitter or via email with a friend!

What Do YOU Think?

Are the foods in the top 40 the foods that YOU eat most often? If not, which foods are most popular with you that didn't make our top 40 list? Do you buy organic foods? Why or why not? Leave a comment below and let us know.

The free LIVESTRONG MyPlate calorie tracker app for iPhone and Android has helped millions of people lose weight the healthy way -- by getting support from an active community as they track their eating and exercise. Consistently a top-rated app, MyPlate offers the latest technology in an easy-to-use tool that includes millions of foods, 5-minute in-app workouts, and a robust support community.

LIVESTRONG's MyPlate app has a database with over two million foods, enabling us to understand our users’ eating behavior and provide them with actionable tips and takeways that will help them be more conscious and in control of their health. All the while, we also educate our readers about the impact and the hidden risk of dangerous ingredients in processed foods and pesticides in non-organic versions of their most commonly consumed staple crops such as coffee, apples, corn and grapes. Our aim is to help and inspire people worldwide to live happier, healthier, fitter and longer.

JESS BARRON is VP & GM for LIVESTRONG.COM, a leading healthy lifestyle website with over 29 million unique monthly viewers. Jess's passion is inspiring people to live healthier and better. In addition to LIVESTRONG, her writing has appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune and MyDomaine. She has appeared on MSNBC, ABC News and XM Satellite Radio. Jess has been a keynote speaker on health topics at Health Further and a panelist at Create & Cultivate and Digital Hollywood. Follow Jess on Instagram at @jessbeegood and Twitter too!

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