Sunday’s New York Times has a beautifully illustrated account of how the U.S. food supply has changed since 1970, based on USDA food supply data. These do not measure actual food intake. Instead they measure food produced in the U.S., less exports, plus imports. The USDA has collected (or computed) such data since 1909 and to the extent that they are collected the same way every year, give a good idea of food trends, even though they overestimate actual food intake. I like this USDA data set a lot. It shows that production of all foods is up, with the biggest increases in fats (59%), grains (42%), and sugars and corn sweeteners (17%). Vegetables are up (15%), but so are corn sweeteners (373%), cream cheese (350%), and sour cream (275%). 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.
Next public appearance
New Directions in the Fight Against Hunger and Malnutrition: A Festschrift in Honor of Per Pinstrup-Anderson. Cornell University, Statler Hotel Amphitheater. The conference begins at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast and ends with a reception the following day with remarks by professor Pinstrup-Anderson at 2:25 p.m.
My joint contribution with Malden Nesheim is from 1:40-2:00 p.m. on “the internationalization of the obesity epidemic: the case of sugar-sweetened sodas.”