The market research firm NPD Group gets a glimpse of national eating habits through the food diaries it has collected from 5,000 consumers since 1980. The percentage of those consumers who are on a diet is lower than at any time since information on dieting was first collected in 1985. At the peak in 1990, 39 percent of the women and 29 percent of the men were dieting. Today, that number has dropped to 26 percent of women and 16 percent of men.
The diarists also report eating more organic foods and whole grains, said Harry Balzer, an NPD vice president.
“Instead of trying to avoid things, they’ve started adding things,” Mr. Balzer said.