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All you can eat

(article, Kim Carlson)

Using data from the USDA, the New York Times has created a graphic representation of how much more food we eat now than we used to — and what kinds of food we're eating. 

According to the paper, we ate, per person, 16.4 pounds of food per week in 1970. By 2006, we each downed 1.8 pound per week more. 

The Times' editors based their calculations on "food availability," or the amount of food that's produced for consumers, accounting for food waste all along the distribution chain, from the farm to the plate. 

Some conclusions: Although we eat less dairy than we used to, we eat more vegetables and fruits, meat, fats, sweeteners, and grains. 

Said nutrition expert Marion Nestle, writing about the Times piece on her blog: "The article doesn’t say so, but calories went up from about 3,200 to 4,000, an increase of 800 calories per person per day since the 1970s. Why are Americans gaining weight? Duh. There is more food around and we are eating it."