Ted Burnham at NPR:
People around the world show remarkable similarity in their daily eating habits: meals start off healthy in the morning, but get progressively worse throughout the day – until by nightfall we're deep into junk food territory. Just take a look at these images from mobile startup Massive Health. Focus on the dots over North America in the upper left, which indicate the healthiness (green) or unhealthiness (red) of people's meals at different times of day.
At 10 a.m. Eastern, North America is covered in green as people dig into healthy breakfasts. But by 10 p.m., red and orange splotches dominate most of the continent. And at 1 a.m., there's hardly any green to be seen. Similar trends appear according to local time in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. View an interactive version showing the whole day here.
The data was culled from Massive Health's iPhone app, Eatery. Users record, rate, and track the healthiness of their meals over time. The images reflect ratings on about 500,000 meals from users in 50 countries, collected over 5 months.
The data doesn't explain why we eat worse the later it gets – it just tells us that we do. But there's something profound about such a consistent, worldwide pattern.