In China, the rates of chronic diseases characteristic of countries in nutritional transition have been increasing. However, few studies have examined diet changes in recent decades. We analyzed dietary changes in Tianjin, China. The data in this descriptive, population-based study in ≥18-year-old adults were collected from three surveys from 1986 to 2011. Food consumption and nutrient intake were compared among the three surveys separately for urban and rural areas. Differences in food consumption between urban and rural areas in different periods were also shown. The consumption of cereals, vegetables, and oils decreased, and that of fruits and beans increased in both urban and rural areas. Moreover, the total consumption of animal foods, especially milk, increased (0.01% in 1986–1988; 1.72% in 2008–2011) in rural areas. Although milk consumption also increased in urban areas, consumption of other animal foods decreased (19.33% in 1986–1988; 13.74% in 2008–2011). Meanwhile, cereals consumption rebounded from 22.63% in 2000–2004 to 29.75% in 2008–2011. Moreover, the lack of dairy products and some nutrients, e.g., retinol, calcium, and dietary fiber (<80% of recommended nutrient intake), in the diet persisted in both urban and rural areas. In conclusion, differences in diet between urban and rural areas decreased over time.
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