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Q: Historical data of American food consumption ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Historical data of American food consumption
Category: Health > Fitness and Nutrition
Asked by: nelsonm-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 25 Aug 2003 17:28 PDT
Expires: 24 Sep 2003 17:28 PDT
Question ID: 248719
How much has the average American's food consumption grown over time?

The ideal answer would show me a graph of calories consumed by the
average American from 1900 to present day. Estimated data is fine, and
if data only goes back to 1950 that'll do.

My curiousity is driven by this article:,2763,1028800,00.html
It claims that Americans are fatter than the French because American
portion sizes are bigger. I'm willing to believe that, and I also
believe that over the years Americans have come to eat more. I'm
hoping someone can back that up with data.

I imagine the FDA or someone similar has this data but I don't have
time to research it. If I get a good answer I will blog it.
Subject: Re: Historical data of American food consumption
Answered By: bobbie7-ga on 25 Aug 2003 18:32 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Nelsonm,  

The Economic Research Service of the USDA in the publication “U.S. Per
Capita Food Supply Trends: More Calories, Refined Carbohydrates, and
Fats” by Judy Putnam, Jane Allshouse, and Linda Scott Kantor provides
the exact graph that you require.


On page 2 of this publication you may view the graph - Calories per
person per day from 1910-2000.

Calorie consumption per capita increased 20 percent between 1982 and

Economic Research Service, USDA 
FoodReview, Vol. 25, Issue 3 Increased 20 Percent Between

In order to view the above link, you'll need to have the latest
version of Adobe Acrobat reader software installed on your computer.
A free download is available here:   


U.S. Food Supply Providing More Food and Calories by Judy Putnam

 “Americans in the 1990’s are consuming more food and several hundred
more calories per person per day than did their counterparts in the
late 1950’s (when per capita calorie consumption was at the lowest
level in this century), or even in the 1970’s.”


The graph Calories per person per day 1957 – 1997 is on page 3 of this

Calorie consumption per capita increased 21 Percent Between 1970 and
1994. Three-quarters of that increase occurred between 1984 and 1994.
Source: USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion; USDA's
Economic Research Service.


Here are some interesting facts from ChiroWeb:

“Calories consumed in this average American diet continue to rise,
averaging 1949 in 1994 versus 1839 in 1990 (this is why Americans
continue to gain weight)”

“Although the percent of fat is lower, the total amount of fat
consumed per day is greater because the total calories are higher.”

“Americans consumed 73 grams of fat per day in 1994 versus 72 grams of
fat in 1990.”
Source: ChiroWeb


Calories Per Capita Per Day 1963 and 1992

1963                3,067
1992                3,642
Percentage increase   19%

Search Criteria:

Calories average American by year
Calories consumed diet 1950
per capita calorie consumption
U.S. Per Capita calorie intake by year

I hope the above information helps you in your research. If anything
is unclear or if a link does not function, please let me know and I’ll
be glad to offer further assistance.

Best Regards,
nelsonm-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you for the prompt and well annotated reply!

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