How Our Diets have Changed since 1970

It is interesting to see how our diets have changed since 1970. Some of the changes are great and some not so much. The data in this cool flowing graphic is only looking at certain basic food groups. Take a look!

Changes in the American Diet

You might notice the sudden rate of increase for cooking oil starting in 2000, but this isn’t from people growing overly fond of frying in a year. Instead, this was from a change in reporting to the Census Bureau. Nevertheless, cooking oil stayed on top through the years while margarine and Lard decreased.

More interesting is the battle between butter and margarine. The former takes over the latter in 2003. This is not so much because of increased butter consumption, but more about the continuous decline of margarine.

In the dairy section, as you might expect, whole milk declined 79 percent between 1970 to 2013. The lower fat milks took the reins, but the cheeses really took control in this category. There was a big increase in the consumption of Italian cheeses.

Interesting to note that dark greens, which includes vegetables like spinach and broccoli. It shows that we barely consumed dark green veggies before 1980.

In 1970, people consumed more than twice as much beef than chicken, but by 1987 it surpassed pork, and in 2004 moved passed beef. Chicken has been on top since. There has also been a big increase in the consumption of Turkey and a decrease in lamb and Veal.

It is good to see the rise in healthy fats like Avocado in the fruit category.

Finally, scale the charts by food item, and you see some obvious spikes (and dips), like carrots in the mid-1990s. In 1991, the average daily consumption was 0.05 cups, and that increased by more than 60 percent during a three-year period. This by the way was around the time baby carrots came into vogue.