Food of the World
Career Path : Education News
If you liked our article about Jamie Oliver’s School Nutrition, here’s some more interesting data about food’s role in our world. National Geographic has collected data and compiled it into a graph series titled “What the World Eats”, showing how world food consumption has change from 1961 to 2011. At a first glance at 2011, most of the world’s calories come from sugar & fat, and carbohydrates. While this was the same in 1961, other foods have grown in popularity. In the 60s, meat only made up 6% of the world’s diet, carbohydrates roughly half, and sugar and fat making up 16%. Fast forward to 2011, meat now makes up 9% of the world’s diet and sugar and fat now 20%. We can see a few issues with this, one is that processed foods have brought more sugars into our diet. There are also environmental concerns involved with eating more meat, including extra methane produced by cows.
The graphs also allow you to see the individual food consumption of 20 different countries, including North Korea, India, Cuba, Vietnam, Spain and Australia. The biggest consumer of meat was not the U.S. as would be predicted, but rather Hong Kong. The U.S. was the largest consumer of sugar and fat, which makes up 37% of the American diet. Germany consumes the most dairy and eggs, and Cuba consumes the most produce.
It is interesting to look at graphs from somewhere like North Korea, an impoverish country where grains make up 63% of the diet. The daily calories per country is also an interesting thing to note, with a relatively healthy country like Spain consuming an average of 3187 calories per day, whereas the U.S. with its obesity epidemic consumes an average of 3641.
If you found this an interesting look into our world, check out this photo series by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluision called “Hungry Planet: What the World Eats”. The photo series travels to several different countries to see what a family consumes in a week.