Since shrimp farming started in Bangladesh in the 1970s, it has spread throughout the coastal region, increasing soil and water salinity levels. The water salinity in 2005 in the coastal districts of Khulna, Bagherat and Satkhira ranged from 0.3 to 20.7, 0.4 to 27.1 and 0.7 to 24.8 dS m−1, respectively, whereby it was highly saline for several months of the year. Water salinity above 2.5 dS m−1 is not suitable for irrigation, and may cause animal health problems. Irrigation with saline water may cause ion toxicity and osmotic stress, reducing plant growth and yield. Salinity has reduced the agro-biodiversity in the coastal regions of Bangladesh, and this paper investigates how these changes have impacted human food habits in the three coastal, rural villages Putia (Satkhira district), Srifaltala (Bagerhat district) and Hogolbunia (Khulna district). Fieldwork was conducted from July to December 2006 and Participatory Rural Appraisal methods including transect walks, key informant interviews, group discussions and personal interviews were carried out. In total, 121 respondents were interviewed and historical data from 1975 to 2006 were collected. For historical data, respondents aged above 50 years were sampled, but additional criteria such as socio-economic condition and farm location were applied to assure a sample representative for the population of the coastal areas. The sampled households had characteristics similar to the major part of Bangladeshi households (rural, agrarian based, regarding family size and food habits), and were thus representative of a broader cross-section of households in Bangladesh. As all sampled villages faced increasing salinity and spread of shrimp farming, they were representative of villages in the coastal areas. When salinity increased, the production of vegetables, seasonal fruits, animal species, eggs and milk declined. As the price of the mentioned animal commodities rose, cheaper commodities such as broilers, exotic and marine fish species and exotic oils were introduced. The decision on what to cultivate was also influenced by non-residents converting the farmers' land into shrimp ponds, increasing the salinity in the surroundings and killing the farmers' ducks. These agro-biodiversity changes caused reduced frequency of consumption of beef, goat, native chicken, egg, local freshwater fish, seasonal fruits, vegetables and milk, while broilers, exotic fish, exotic oils and marine fish species were increasingly consumed. Still, the total fish consumption declined. These changed food habits may lead to considerable negative health consequences for the rural, coastal populations.