The Food Service Warehouserecently released an interactive visualization tool, which highlights calorie consumption and %income spent on food, broken down across 40 nations.
Besides being dynamic and fun to play around with, it’s an incredibly rich tool with a TON of intriguing data and insights.
Here are a few of the major data insights I pulled out:
1. The USA reigns king
*Shocker* – America ranks as #1 in daily calories, hitting an average of 3,770 calories per day! (1)
2. The gap between the first and third world is HUGE
The divide between the US and Angola, Tanzania, and most of Africa is utterly stunning.
Point 1 — Angola & Tanzania spend ~ 75-80% of their total income on food — Americans only spend 6.9%. Fine, we already knew there was a worldwide hunger epidemic.
Point 2 — The US consumes 85% more food than Angola/Tanzania, despite the fact that food occupies a minor portion of our income. Can you imagine if you only had 20% of your income to spend on rent, clothes, going out, etc…wow.
3. The US eats really low quality food
Comparatively, the US only takes in ~ 100-200 calories/day more than most European nations. We spend 2 – 2.5x less to eat MORE calories.
The food in Europe is delicious — albeit expensive — mainly because everything is fresh, natural, and essentially a culinary experience. Fast food exists, but not even close to the extent that it does in the US, and processed foods are a chore to find in European supermarkets. Don’t believe me? See the chart below (2).
Go eat out more or learn to cook — all of the processed, fast, low quality food will catch up with you.
Or you could just move to Europe.
4. The calorie-obesity link weakens
The top 5 nations, ranked by average daily calories, come out as:
The differences are negligible, with only 70 calories separating the US at # 1 and Luxembourg at # 5. Now take a look at the same countries, broken out by obesity rate (3).
Although this doesn’t prove causation, the correlation between calories and obesity is pretty much nonexistent. Austria consumes 10 — TEN — fewer calories/day than the US, yet it has one-third of the obesity rate.
Calories are not the be all end all — amount of exercise, food quality, meal timing, protein/fat/carb intake, insulin, and a ton of other factors all impact obesity.
Did you find any other interesting insights? Drop them in the comments.
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