Americans have weird eating habits. While we’re eating less beef and less sugar, according to a new report card from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Americans LOVE cheese, and in the past four decades, we’ve grown increasingly obsessed with it. Just look at this graph:In 1970, a person in American ate, on average, eight pounds of cheese per person in a year. Now it’s 23. Twenty-three pounds of cheese a year! That’s like … a cheese corgi.
The government probably had something to do with this, as Michael Moss told TIME earlier this year:
The USDA has become a partner with the dairy industry and the beef industry in promoting increased consumption of cheese and red meat at a time when its own nutritionists are encouraging people to cut back because both are heavily laden with saturated fat, which is linked to heart disease.
This largely explains why cheese consumption has tripled in this country since the 70s to as much as 33 pounds per person per year.
But it probably also has something to do fast food. Fast and processed food companies have figured out that putting cheese on everything makes it more delicious — and that there’s no limit to how much cheese we will eat. You can make a food too salty or too greasy, but apparently not too cheesy: “The main thing our customers tell us they want is more cheese,” a Pizza Hut manager told the WSJ. And they’re obviously getting it.