Montana Public Radio

Growing Food Supply, Ballooning Waistlines: 'The Food Guys' Compare 1970 to 2016

Nov 10, 2019

What did American farmers and food companies produce in 2016, compared to 1970?   A lot more of everything --  460 calories more, or 25% more daily. Given the growing circumference of Americans' waistlines, this raises The Food Guys' eyebrows. Based on a 2016 U.S.D.A. snapshot of the American food supply, they break down the trends of the last 46 years in the American diet.

Much of that daily caloric jump comes from Americans eating more refined grains and fats. 100 calories of protein that came from red meat in 1970 came from poultry in 2016.

In 2016, potatoes were the favorite American vegetable. But this category includes potato chips and French fries. 115 daily calories came from the "vegetables" category in 2016, compared to 125 in 1970.

Among the top 5 fruits produced in 2016, most of the oranges and apples were drunk as juice.

From of Nathan Yau at Flowing Data, here's an interactive graphic that illustrates the changing American diet. It uses the U.S.D.A.'s Food Availiability Data System.

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 11/10/19. Listen weekly on the radio at 9:53 a.m. Sundays, or via podcast.)