The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently investigated the changes in American eating habits over the past forty yers. Americans, according to the study, are eating more chicken than any time in their history and are eating less beef than previous years. On a whole,Americans drink less milk and eat less ice cream, but they consume more cheese. Although American's diets contain less sugar than in previous decades, they include substantially more corn-derived sweeteners. Americans are consuming 36 pounds of cooking oils per yer-three times as much than in the 1970s.

According to the research, American eating habits are incredibly erratic, perhaps due to the paradoxical proliferation of fast Food eating and Health food stores. A recent PEW Research Centre study failed to reach a consensus in regards to the eating habits of America.

A Tale of Two Diets

In the PEW study, 54 percent of those surveyed said Americans pay more attention to eating healthy foods compared to twenty years ago. However, the same percentage claimed that American eating habits were less healthy than twenty years ago. While 73 percent of those surveyed stated they were health conscious, 58 percent said that they should be eating healthier on a day to day basis.

Broadly speaking, Americans eat considerably more than they used to.

According to the NIDKK, one in three Americans is considered medically obese-a considerable rise in the past forty years that has translated into an increase in weight related medical issues. In consequence, an entire industry based on miracle weight loss potions has developed.

Comparing food consumption on a year to year basis is counter productive due to a lack of meaningful change.

However, comparing food consumption over a forty year period is more effective at painting a picture of American lifestyle changes.

In 2010, the average American consumed 2,481 calories a day, around 23 percent more than in 1970. Nearly half of those calories came from two food groups: grains (581 calories-23.4 percent) and fats (575 calories-23.2 percent).

Although meats, dairy and sweetener calorie intake has decreased since 1970, so has America's intake of fruit and vegetables despite various programmes promoting the consumption of several portions of fruit and vegetables a day.