How Americans Eat: A Graphic History

It’s no secret that Americans’ diets have changed over the years. But these data show just how drastically we’ve altered what we put in our stomachs.

“Eat more chicken” may be the slogan of a certain fast-food company, but it might as well have been the motto for American eating during the past four-plus decades. Poultry boasts one of the largest increases in consumption—and it was accompanied by a comparable drop in beef. As these data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture depict, the shifts have been constant and striking. Perhaps most dramatic: the epic rise and fall of corn sweeteners, the most vilified culprit in the expansion of American waistlines. Still, between the decline in those sugars and the increase in eating of tomatoes, avocados, bananas, and pineapples, there are signs that we collectively may be on the road to healthier diets.

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