Eating habits are getting worse in the world – but some countries are doing well.
What we eat has an enormous impact on our health, but we don’t pay it as much attention as we should. It’s not hard to see that the world isn’t eating really healthy food – worldwide obesity has tripled in the last 50 years, and more than two billion adults are overweight (and childhood obesity is on the rise, too). At the same time, nearly one billion people suffer from malnutrition.
There is no doubt that we still have a lot to know when it comes to the global food system. Part of this problem can be traced back to What is the price We eat, but another part what or what We are eating. In 2015, a group of researchers looked at what people around the world eat.
Around the world 2000 calories
The study only looked at the nutritional quality of what people were eating – not how much people were eating. In other words, they analyzed how many healthy and unhealthy foods tend to be in diets around the world, and how the two sides balance out. The study simply analyzed how diets around the world would compare if they all contained 2,000 calories per day (an important distinction given average American consumption. 3600 calories per dayand 1 in 4 people in sub-Saharan Africa is malnourished). With this important distinction, how do the diets of different countries compare?
It is probably safe to say that few people expect the United States to top any list of healthy nutrition, but one can reasonably expect rich countries to have better diets — after all, they can afford them. But that’s not what the researchers found at all. People from sub-Saharan Africa (and West Africa in particular) rank much better than richer countries in Europe and North America.
The main conclusion of the study is that eating habits are getting worse in many parts of the world. The study found that global consumption of healthy foods increased, but it was in high-income countries that increased consumption of unhealthy foods was often outpaced. Other countries, such as India or Uruguay, also did relatively well.
The team looked at eating both healthy foods (such as vegetables and legumes) and unhealthy foods (such as processed meats). They found that in many wealthier countries, eating healthy foods is increasing – but it is being balanced by eating unhealthy ones. Basically, they eat a few healthy things, but a lot of unhealthy things; In general, in many parts of the world, the quality of diets is declining.
The West African diet is rich in starch and vegetables and light on meat. It also contains a lot of fat. The staple dish in some cultures of this region is a dish called fufu, which mixes root vegetables such as yam or cassava with soups or stews. West African cuisine also features more seafood and leafy greens than the rest of the continent.
People around the world eat many different things. Some are healthy, others are less healthy. If you want some takeaway from studying, you don’t necessarily need to get inspiration from a specific area – but there are some directions you can follow. In general, diets low in processed foods are healthier, such as those low in saturated fat and red meat. Diets with lots of plant foods tend to be healthier, and of course not eating too much (or too little) is essential to a healthy diet.
Study “Diet quality among men and women in 187 countries in 1990 and 2010: a systematic evaluation” posted in cell.
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