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  What the World Eats
 
POSTED BY
Dr. Mercola
June 13, 2007
These photographs, shot by Peter Menzel from the book "Hungry Planet," were part of a previous Time Magazine story I posted about science confirming the secret key to weight loss. They didn't include these photos in their article at the time, and only printed four of them in the magazine.

This is a fascinating look at what's on people's dinner tables across the globe, and is a telling visual of why the health of the Western world is in rapid decline from all our prepackaged, chemically processed and sugar-laden goods, and how much we're actually paying for the privilege.



Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23
Favorite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat


Japan: The Ukita family of Kodaira City
Food expenditure for one week: 37,699 Yen or $317.25
Favorite foods: sashimi, fruit, cake, potato chips


Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11
Favorite foods: fish, pasta with ragu, hot dogs, frozen fish sticks


Kuwait: The Al Haggan family of Kuwait City
Food expenditure for one week: 63.63 dinar or $221.45
Family recipe: Chicken biryani with basmati rice


United States: The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week: $341.98
Favorite foods: spaghetti, potatoes, sesame chicken


Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09
Favorite foods: pizza, crab, pasta, chicken


China: The Dong family of Beijing
Food expenditure for one week: 1,233.76 Yuan or $155.06
Favorite foods: fried shredded pork with sweet and sour sauce


Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27
Family recipe: Pig's knuckles with carrots, celery and parsnips



Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53
Family recipe: Okra and mutton



Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55
Family recipe: Potato soup with cabbage



Mongolia: The Batsuuri family of Ulaanbaatar
Food expenditure for one week: 41,985.85 togrogs or $40.02
Family recipe: Mutton dumplings



Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
Family recipe: Mushroom, cheese and pork



Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07
Favorite foods: fried potatoes with onions, bacon and herring, fried noodles with eggs and cheese, pizza, vanilla pudding



Great Britain: The Bainton family of Cllingbourne Ducis
Food expenditure for one week: 155.54 British Pounds or $253.15
Favorite foods: avocado, mayonnaise sandwich, prawn cocktail, chocolate fudge cake with cream



United States: The Caven family of California
Food expenditure for one week: $159.18
Favorite foods: beef stew, berry yogurt sundae, clam chowder, ice cream



Time Magazine



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Article's Comment     ( 44 Comments )
 
 
 +13 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Phantom O' Banjo   
June 13, 2007
Post Reply
This reminds me of passage in the book metabolic type diet book by Wolcott.  The hunter quietly pulls back his bow and shoots his arrow right through the center of the doughnut.   :)
 

 +7 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Katy B   
Author of the Article June 13, 2007
I noticed the family in North carolina had not a drop of water in their selections. Lots of pop, and juice avec sucre but no water.  How can they still live?

Katy B.

 +2 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Tina Holly   
Author of the Article June 26, 2007
maybe the north carolina family had a reverse osmosis water purification system installed in their tap. ;o) haha.

(then again, just because water is in a bottle doesn't mean it's good for you)

            
 
Author of the Article
BY Bill McDougald   
Author of the Article July 12, 2007
I spend about $32 a week on food. Just vegetables, brown rice, fruit and eggs. I also have an excellent water filter which you can learn about on www.aquasana.com

            
 
Author of the Article
BY Chrisso   
Author of the Article June 28, 2007
I guess the moral of the story is to avoid a diet rich in holefoods!

            
 
Author of the Article
BY GinaVoce25   
Author of the Article June 25, 2007
The water's next to the milk, though still not very much!

 
 +11 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY seg   
June 14, 2007
Post Reply
No sure you guys noticed the sodas and the potatoes chips on most of these pictures.....North America has sure made it's way around the block i tell you; more than once i might add.....This spells two words "MASS DESTRUCTION".

I sincerely wish all health gurus can come together as ONE VOICE so we can put an end to this madness that's plaguing our society and future generations to come. Unfortunately at this time most are still undecided over certain issues, some petit, including personal ones i might add, so in the mean time we got to plug away and take care of ourselves.

United we stand divided we fall......

 
 +11 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Russ Bianchi   
June 13, 2007
Post Reply
If a picture is worth a thousand words, these multiple and empirical shots from around the world, on quantity and quality (or lack thereof) speak many VOLUMES to how badly dumb-downed nutrition is in America, and how acutely it is harming the over all health, on a pandemic basis, in preventable disease.

We are what we eat for each of our metabolic types, with regular low impact exercise for optimum health and happiness outcomes.

"Physician, Heal Thyself"

Uncle Russ

 
 +11 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Zambini   
June 13, 2007
Post Reply
Wow, what a nice cultural trip around the world.  It seems everyone with a kitchen has packaged food available.  I was surprised to recognize so many brands in the pictures from other countries.  My favorite photo was undoubtedly the one from Chad, followed quite closely by the smiling family with veggies galore from Ecuador. 
 

 +4 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY ozy_ness   
Author of the Article June 16, 2007
I was surprised by the Mexican family - they had the most soft drink in their photo than anyone.

Katy, the 2nd American family had 2 bottles of water in their selections, but yes I could not find one bottle of water in the 1st family.

Thanks Dr Mercola I loved this article, I found it fascinating!!!

 +1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY GRAYWOLF   
Author of the Article June 26, 2007
Bot US families have water. NC has 2 gallons behind the milk and CA has a bottle between the sugar & Vanilla Wafers on the counter.

The CA family seems to be a bit healthier than the NC family. My diet used to look like the NC pic (lots of restaurant food), but I think it is now better than the CA pic. I still have a ways to go, but I am working on it!

 
 +7 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY chirocheer   
June 13, 2007
Post Reply
Gosh, we need to get back to the way our ancestors (and other cultures) ate hundreds of years ago.  Modern conveniences have been detrimental to our health.  I HIGHLY recommend the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.
 

 +1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY SummerSolstice   
Author of the Article June 26, 2007
I just got Nourishing Traditions for my birthday.  I can't put it down!  So many recipes I can't wait to try. too bad its so hard to convince others that this is the correct way to eat!

            
 
Author of the Article
BY corganic   
Author of the Article June 28, 2007
I picked up Nourishing Traditions about seven years ago - it changed my life. I would also recommend becoming a member of the Weston A Price Foundation and finding a local chapter to help you find real food.

Corganic

 
 +4 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Aqua   
June 27, 2007
Post Reply
Look at the smiling faces on the family from Tingo!  no idea where that is but I find it fascinating that they have so little (not even a kitchen it seems??) and smile so big.  very inspiring

 
 +3 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Tina Holly   
June 26, 2007
Post Reply
people's view of the world is highly subjective. people see what they want to see.

i don't think people realized that almost all of the pictures had processed food. the diet of the world is declining and america didn't look that much worse than japan, or other families with prepackaged food.

the poorer countries seem to have more fruits and vegetables, though i don't think that these people photographed were a fair representation of how everyone in the country eats. they all seemed to be pretty well off for countries where it is not as likely to be.
 

            
 
Author of the Article
BY Cas   
Author of the Article June 27, 2007
I obeserved that the families who had the least amount of money to spend on food each week had all raw foods... no prepackaged. And I can't seem to convince my family that it is cheaper to feed your family well than it is to feed them packaged junk. (Cheaper in the long run too, fewer doctor bills!)

 
 +2 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY andrewtd   
June 26, 2007
Post Reply
Why would people criticize the Americans for not purchasing bottled water?  If you don't live in America please realize that most Americans drink tap water.

 
 +2 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY kelann   
June 14, 2007
Post Reply
I've actually read this whole book, and, in truth, it really just shows how similar diet is everywhere. I expected there to be much more "true" variation than there was.  Everyone is tonned-out with "the white menace" -- white rice, white bread, sugar, potatoes. The quantities of white bread will completely astound you, even if it is made in pretty loaf forms. Soda is another huge one.  There are exceptions, but VERY few. Anyone who has access to junk food buys it. It's worth reading--perhaps your library has it. Incidentally, the folks from Raleigh, NC (with the pizza) say they've posted the picture as inspiration to change and do better with their diet.

 
 +2 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Jane Akre   
June 13, 2007
Post Reply
What a fascinating look at foods around the world.

Mayonnaise sandwich?  The dog biscuits looked better....
 

            
 
Author of the Article
BY Katy B   
Author of the Article June 17, 2007
yeah, Mayo sarnies they call 'em, sounds just horrible.  I could just gag.

Katy B.

 
 +1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Qigong   
June 27, 2007
Post Reply
Wonderful photos aren't they.... one thing that would be helpful is if the "price" for a week's worth of food were expressed differently.
Say in the number of hours necessary to work to get the food. Not only would this help with comparing countries with gross disparities between earning power but also comparisons could be made which include people who grow their own food. Still a set of photos which caught the attention of everyone I've shown it so far ....

 
 +1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY messenger66   
June 27, 2007
Post Reply
Sorry but I think the prices per week are GREATLY exaggerated.
I live in Belgium with my wife and we spend about 80 Euros per week on food. And I assure you we are not starving - quite the opposite actually :(
The $500 per week for the German family is a total nonsense. I know that kids can eat a lot but looking at what they have there, $500 is unbelievable. (Unless they pay $20 per bottle of wine...).
 

 +2 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Marnie1   
Author of the Article June 27, 2007
These pictures are so staged, I can't believe any of you would believe this is a week's worth of food for anyone.  Look at the family from California--1 box of brown sugar a week for a family of 4?  Even more telling, there is a gallon bottle of VINEGAR in the picture.  How can anyone use a gallon of vinegar in a week?  The German family drinks 20 bottles of beer AND 4 bottles of wine a week?  Either the kids are drinking too, or the parents are buzzed every day...Not a single bottle of wine for the Sicilian family?  Where's the 50 LB bag of rice that is the staple of the Japanese diet?  Or the Chinese diet?  Don't believe everything you see.  

 
 +1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Sandy in Nevada   
June 26, 2007
Post Reply
Thanks Dr. Mercola, I truly enjoyed this article.  I keep going through the photos -- fascinating.  I think I am going to purchase the book -- it would be good for my kids (and the rest of my family) to get a taste (bad pun) of what the rest of the world is doing.  I am working bit by bit on my family's diet.  The kids often complain that they don't get to eat what their friends eat (or as much (sodas!)).  I wish I had known more about nutrition when they were little, because now I really have to work on them to limit their junk food.  I often point out to them that they are lean, muscular and healthy and that many of their friends (sadly) are not.

 
 +1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Chrisso   
June 26, 2007
Post Reply
I always get strange looks from others in the supermarket when I go through the checkout because I'm not buying anything processed. I dish out the same look to others for the opposite reason. I feel like saying "what you never knew real food existed?"
 

 +1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Bridestein   
Author of the Article June 26, 2007
Do you ever look at people's carts at Costco? My god, the horror!

 
 +1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY ryree   
June 26, 2007
Post Reply
 Its odd how the weight of the people corresponds to the amount of soda they have. The family from Mexico may have the most fruit and vegetables overall but unfortunately also the most soda. They also look to be the heaviest of all the other families. Even though some of them seem to have quite a bit of candy on the tables it seems that the soda has more to do with being overweight. That large amount of soda is consistent with all the people I know who are obese. I dont know one heavy person or child that doesnt have a 4+ cans- a- day soda habit.
I thought it was sad too that the Americans had the least amount of fruit and vegetables. It looks like a days serving for that size of a family.    
I felt sorry for the family from Chad but I wonder how many overweight American's lives could be saved by sending them there for several months to live on that diet. Hmm sounds like a plot for new reality show.

 
 +1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY gwoiler   
June 26, 2007
Post Reply
Wow... we earthlings are in bad shape!  But we knew that.  There is sooo much soda and garbage in these peoples diets.  The "Tingo" and "Shingkhey Village" looked pretty good and "Cairo" not too bad.  If there was  a picture of my week, it would have a pile of brocolli, carrots, some coliflower, lots of whole wheat bread, bananas, bowl of brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, unsweetened wheat bran flakes, soy milk, raisins, pure maple syrup, avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, apples, (one a day) almonds, corn, sea salt.  95 percent of the food I buy is from the produce section.  I look at peoples shopping carts and wonder how they even survive.  We are what we eat.  At 52 years old, I have only a few gray wiskers, and not balding either. (well a very little) I eat 3 meals a day and I eat a lot.  I am not over wieght.  Except for whole wheat pancake mix and bread and flax seed waffles, I don't think I eat anything else processed.  I amgone most the time.  If you sw wht my wife eats during the week, I amsure it is much different than my week!

 
 +1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY LuckyLindy333   
June 26, 2007
Post Reply
These pictures are fascinating and I loved looking at them.  Thanks, Dr. Mercola for posting them.  Did you see how much it costs the German family a week to eat?  $500!!!  I was also fascinated to see almost everyone in the world had soda pop.  <gag>
 

 +1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY messenger66   
Author of the Article June 27, 2007
Please don't believe everything that you find on the net :) $500 per week is a total nonsense. Even if you were buying all your food fresh from bio-farms.

 +1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY cdelite   
Author of the Article June 26, 2007
Lots of beer & wine in the German picture.  That might account for quite a bit of the difference.

 
 +1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Sarasmiles   
June 26, 2007
Post Reply
And, what about all that plastic packaging/bottles?  The sad part is the majority of the people on Earth aren't aware of the potential dangers of plastic.  Even the people in Chad are exposed to it!  Imagine the plastic molecules in the water after the containers sit in the hot sun day after day.

 
            
 
Author of the Article
BY Lilly   
June 28, 2007
Post Reply
If you travel further south in America (Ecuador, Peru, Chile...) you'll realize that consumption of canned food, sodas and chips is not as abundant as in the US, and that might be the reason of the big smile in the faces of the family from Tingo (Ecuador)

 
            
 
Author of the Article
BY mcalderon777   
June 27, 2007
Post Reply
Thought I'd put in my two cents...
First of all, the picture representing a Mexican diet, obviously does not represent the average Mexican family, in Mexico. However, it is, unfortunately, fairly accurate for a Mexican family in the U.S. with the money to spend.
Secondly, as much as we are tempted to praise the diet, for example, of the family from Ecuador, I can tell you, it would not be difficult to become malnourished rather quickly.
My family occasionally travels to Mexico to visit my husband's family. He grew up extremely poor in rural Mexico. His family didn't have electricity until 1995, and they still don't have running water.
Anyway, when we go down, we start off eating a varied diet, with a bit more meat than what they'd normally eat, for example. After about three weeks or so, we start being a bit more frugal, and our diet becomes more conservative, more like what you would imagine from someone just buying basic needs.
Then something interesting happens....after a couple weeks we begin to lose our appetite. Dinner's ready, the food is good, intellectually you know you should eat, etc., but you simply do not want to eat. Taste bud fatigue is real, and I suspect is the reason, indigenous cultures adopt a Western so easily, yet suffer from it so terribly.
I think the diet portrayed by the Egyptian family would probably be more "doable" and less likely to result in rebound gluttony.
IMHO, anyway.

 
            
 
Author of the Article
BY Cas   
June 27, 2007
Post Reply
I was surprised to see so many Lays, Coca Cola, and Kelloggs cereal in so many of the photos. I haven't drank soda pop in a few years, but even when I did, I hated Coca Cola (tasted like dirt compared to Pepsi). Of course it all tastes bad to me now. Looks more like advertisements for terrible food than it looks like educational photographs. I know americans eat really poorly, but I changed my eating habits many years ago, and am still 50 lbs. overweight. I have been fed awfully since birth. How many years does it take for the health benefits to show in the weight dept.? lol

There was even McDonald's in one of the photos!! GAG!!

 
            
 
Author of the Article
BY MRL   
June 26, 2007
Post Reply
I thought I was bad! Those American families make me look good...I'm glad my kids hate fast food.

Maybe we should all assess what is in our pantry and fridge....

 
            
 
Author of the Article
BY RhiannonH   
June 26, 2007
Post Reply
What a fascinating piece. I could look at those pictures for hours. the family from chad made me want to cry. Apart from the rice I might eat in a day what they have for a week and not feel too full. the family from Sicily worried me. No wine anywhere. What kind of Italians are they?  And all that bread!  

|the family I would most like to have dinner with is the one from Cairo and the one I would most not like to eat with is the one from North Carolina. To those who are worried about their water consumption, maybe they drink tap water.

       

 
 -1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Immortalhealth   
June 26, 2007
Post Reply
Probably my favorite blog of the year!... very interesting.... if all those families just did what the chinese did and had a keosan style water filter they'd all be a lot better off:-P

 
 -3 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Drstrange   
June 26, 2007
Post Reply
I wonder how many people understand that a vegetarian diet would feed the world seven times over. There isn't a lack of food, water, shelter, or clothing. There is only a lack of sharing.
 

 +2 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Bridestein   
Author of the Article June 27, 2007
gwoiler - do you know what 'chi chills' are? I get those when I eat meat (which I only started to do about 15 months ago). My body positively hums with gratitude. For the first time in my life I am happy and healthy.
Here's the part I don't understand - I am perfectly willing to accept that you thrive without meat; why can't you accept that I don't?

 +2 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Chrisso   
Author of the Article June 26, 2007
Don't get me wrong, I'm a full solid carnivore, but vegetarians do get animal protein, dont they Bridestein? From Milk and eggs. Now vegans are another subject. Although, one of my vegan friends has put forward the argument that many thousands of years ago, plants did contain B12 when animal sh*7 fertilised the soils. But nowdays with our farming practices, there is not B12. And no food really comes from rainforests. If, if this is correct then I can undertstand their decision to be vegan, because B12 is supposed to be available in plants. I have not done any research on this myself, but interesting topic none-the-less.

 +1 Points           
 
Author of the Article
BY Bridestein   
Author of the Article June 26, 2007
I wonder how many vegetarians realize that some people actually need animal protein to be healthy?


            
 
Author of the Article
BY gwoiler   
Author of the Article June 27, 2007
<<I wonder how many vegetarians realize that some people actually need animal protein to be healthy?>>

Hmmm....    I guess it could depend on if the individual really knew how to eat.  If B-12 is the only rgument to eat meat, then there are 100 arguments for not eating meat.  Come on now.... B-12 grows in your mouth unless you are sterilizing it everyday.  I am a vegan veggie... and I will take a sublingual B-12 every few months because that is how long your body stores it and how little your body uses.  Carnivores have short intestines and vegetarians have long intestines like humans.  Look to see the statistics on colon cancer and you will see the blessing of being a vegetarian!  Yes... some veggies are sickly because they eat pasta and other processed food.  Look at olympic athletes....  majority are veggies because that is where stamina and endurance comes from.  Anyway... I better get of this soap box.  What I am saying has been said millions of times... but some people just never learn... until they get cancer or die a sudden death called heart attack!