How has the American diet changed since 1970?


After potatoes, the three most popular vegetables in America (by a longshot) are celery, lettuce, and … er … potato chips.

Did they separate potato chips out from the category of potatoes or would potato consumption be even higher if chips were included as potatoes? Time didn’t seem clear on that.


Quick someone post a study detailing how it’s the decline of potato consumption that’s making us all fat.

I’m curious what happened to oranges in 1991.


So whole grains are making me fat.

Naw it’s probably more likely me sitting here at this computer not getting off my fat ass…but that sounds like a “me” problem so that can’t possible be it.


Does it mention capers? My caper consumption has gone way up in the last 40 years.


in 1989 and 1990 there were major freezes that affected the CA orange crop


These data don’t show how the food is prepared, processed. How much of that “fruit” is now being consumed in the bottom of sugar-loaded yogurts instead au-natural? How much of the meat, cheese, and wheat is now being served in processed Lunchables™ as opposed to home prepared meals? I dunno, my biases are probably showing, but it would be cool to know.

Also, that decline in potato consumption seems to correspond nicely with the 2004 release of the documentary Super-Size Me, and the following outcry over huge french fry portions at fast food chains. Some chains responded by offering more salads, could this account for the nominal up blips in lettuce and celery?


Here’s how I remember it, shortly after graduating college in 1987, I was barely scraping by doing temp work in the DC area. I was renting a room in a “group home” owned by one person and with three renters helping to pay the mortgage.

This guy had really big bowls and plates, much bigger than I’d ever seen before. The cereal bowls could hold 3 or 4 cups of cereal. One of my roommates liked to make rice and fried eggs, she was from Columbia and I guess this is a comfort food there. She would make herself a serving - not in the cereal bowls but in the serving bowls from this set, which easily held a 6 - 8 cups of food. It just seemed to me that our serving sizes so dramatically changed right then, and that suddenly I was seeing people eating and drinking in places where it had been verboten before, like coffee drinks in a bookstore and sodas in clothing stores. And all the sodas got suddenly huge.


I was wondering whether that early-90s spike in carrot consumption has anything to do with the introduction of the “baby” carrot.


1999 may be noted by future historians as the year the US hit peak orange…


Fewer Jello Salads?


I guess people just eat more corn potato chips nowadays.

There has to be a Sunny Delight joke there somewhere.

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Wouldn’t those just be corn chips?

Just wondering if they’re using ‘potato chips’ as a generic term or exclusively to describe potato based snacks.

Good thing too, because that looks revolting. Olives in a lime jello salad topped with shredded lettuce? Blech.


All well and good, but do they use high school kids to design their graphs over at Time?

Hmm, what color should we use to represent oranges on this graph?

Well, we’ve already assigned orange to Apples, so we might as well make Oranges purple.

Ok, now let’s make potatos green, and lettuce grey, that won’t be confusing at all.

Now, let’s make celery and tomatoes the same color, but put them at opposite ends of the legend and maybe nobody will notice.

As for Lemons, let’s make them blue, because nothing suggests lemons like the color blue. Of course, that leaves brown open for bananas, which is logical. Might as well make strawberries green too.

Seriously, it is not hard to make an easy to read, intuitive graph.


I’m sure the pineapple evens things out. ::shudders::

Portion size is missing.


They would probably need to use a logarithmic scale and that would confuse folks…

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