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The American Diet: 53 Gallons of Soda, 42 Pounds of Corn Syrup, 200 Pounds of Meat

Posted: 09/21/11 11:21 AM ET

Written By Jill Ettinger

The average American eats. A lot. As a new infographic points out, per year, food intake per person can amount to some 200 pounds of meat, 85 pounds of fat, 415 pounds of vegetables, 31 pounds of cheese, 53 gallons of soda and 42 pounds of high fructose corn syrup.

By comparison, in 1950, Americans ate roughly half of the meat eaten today, and what they did eat was more like the high quality, organically fed, free-range meat now available to those able to pay sometimes three to four times more than the price for the rampant conventionally raised and high-risk factory farm produced animal proteins.

Sixty years ago, Americans consumed virtually zero pounds of high fructose corn syrup, but that number today -- more than 40 pounds per person (3,865 teaspoons per year or 11 teaspoons per day) -- correlates with the high rise in Type II diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other diet-related illnesses. While HFCS is found in a number of unsuspecting foods from bread to condiments, it's also a major ingredient in soft drinks and sodas, of which Americans are now drinking more than 50 gallons per person each year, adding as much as 150 extra calories in HFCS consumption per day.

Recent aggressive rebranding efforts by the HFCS industry to call it the seemingly more benign 'corn sugar' have led health advocates and public interest groups to outrage as a number of studies link HFCS to more significant weight gain than cane sugar. HFCS is also derived primarily from genetically modified corn, which poses its own set of risks including organ damage, birth defects and cancer.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: Daily Infographic