Over the course of the past few decades, Americans have discovered Sriracha, ditched diet pop, and obsessed over chicken sandwiches. These food trends tend to be big stories, and have been relatively easy to track.
But truthfully, each of these stories only captures a tiny snapshot of the bigger picture of what Americans eat. The USDA has followed the consumption of more than 200 different food items since 1970, ranging from veal to grapefruit. And data visualization designer Nathan Yau recently transformed five decades of American eating into a series of delightful timelines that depict a far more nuanced look at our diet.
He broke the data into six categories: proteins, vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains, and added fats. The items on top are what we consume the most, and the bottom, what we consume less of. These colorful stacks, which correspond with the real food colors, are piled high like sandwiches filled with data.