50 Years Later, America Consumes More Calories, From Worse Sources

by Bob Curley on April 7, 2011

America’s average calorie consumption has risen from 2,168 per person in 1970 to 2,673 in 2008, Civil Eats reported April 5. But what’s more telling is where those calories now come from.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 432 daily calories came from grains in 1970, 410 from added fat, and 195 from fruits and vegetables. By contrast, while fruit and vegetable intake increased to 208 calories per day in 2008, our consumption of calories from added fats and grains skyrocketed to 641 and 625, respectively – a 400-plus cumulative difference.

Obesity rates have doubled worldwide since 1980 (even our pets are getting fat), and overall, the average American’s caloric intake has risen 23.3 percent from 1970 to 2008.