Food for Thought

With all the recent talk of a ‘sugar tax’ for fizzy drinks, I thought that it would be interesting to see whether anyone had created an interactive map of world calorie consumption.

Everyone likes a bit of sugar, I have one colleague (no name, no pack drill) who can’t make it through an afternoon without a chocolate bar of some description. I gave up chocolate a long time ago, partly because the doctor told me to, and partly because I once made the mistake of looking how many calories my favourite chocolate bar contained.

For example; a 330ml can of a well known coke beverage¬†contains 139 calories (7% of recommended daily intake for a woman (2,000 calories)); a 54g bar of the most famous English chocolate bar (the one that ‘helps you work, rest and play) contains 242 calories (12%). More worryingly, the carbonated beverage contains 35g (8 teaspoons of sugar), and the chocolate 43.6g (11 teaspoons).

A mans daily recommended sugar intake is 9 teaspoons, and a women’s just 6. All very scary.

This calorie consumption map, courtesy of shows the diversity in consumption across the globe. It also has a nice tool-tip function which allows the user to see the ‘over time’ trend in each country.


Although the data is a little out of date (2007), what is clearly obvious is the massive average calorie intake in North America, Western Europe, Australasia, North Africa and the former Soviet states. Unsurprisingly, South East Asia is far healthier, as are the northern countries of South America, and of-course, most of central Africa. The low-calorie consuming countries tally rather closely with poverty, meaning that their avoidance of gluttony is far from a lifestyle choice.

The notes about the chart state; ‘This map shows dietary energy consumption per person. The dietary energy consumption per person is the amount of food, in kcal per day, for each individual in the total population.’. This means that the map could be interpreted as showing the amount of food available per person in the population, rather than what is actually consumed.

Still, it’s food for thought!

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