Did you guess potatoes as one of them? Because we’re eating a lot of potatoes.
So what are all three? First, of course, is the potato, which is responsible for one-third of all American vegetable-eating alone. Add in tomatoes and lettuce and you’ve got a full 60% of every vegetable Americans consumed, with just those three items.
The numbers come from a USDA foray into figuring which vegetables Americans are eating (basically just these three) and which Americans are ignoring (all the rest). It took every other vegetable or legume in the whole world combined to make up the remaining 40% of America’s vegetable diet, and of those, no single vegetable made up more than 5%.
Even among the top three veggies, there’s very little variation—the data for potatoes, for instance, only includes white potatoes (sorry, sweet potatoes) and two-thirds of them were eaten as either potato chips or fries. As for the tomatoes, those were mostly eaten in the form of sauce or as an ingredient in something else. Only lettuce was eaten fresh—a distinction probably due more to the lack of other options than anything else.
But, although the data seems a little bleak, it’s actually an improvement. If you go back to the last set of data in 1970, though, the share of The Big Three was even higher at 67%, a number due (even more) to America’s love affair with the potato.
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