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If you’re a frequent flyer to new places, new countries and new cultures you may notice a few… scratch that, a lot of changes in the way food is prepared, eaten and enjoyed in other countries compared to America. As an American citizen (it wasn’t by choice) I have seen how our culture eats and enjoys food. We eat till we are extremely full then pack on a dessert, but that’s not all, what we eat is much different than the rest of the world also.

In America, things are done different. If you grew up in American culture it may seem normal to you but in most countries and cultures we are the anomaly. We can learn a lot from different cultures and their relationship with food.

Take a look at how Americans eat different from most countries in this pie graph below…

Dietary Habits In The United States

Here’s The Rest Of The World:

Dietary Habits Worldwide Averages

6 Ways We Eat Wrong (Compared To Other Countries)

1. Calories:

Americans eat more calories than virtually every other country in the world.  As you can see in the pie graph below we eat on average 3,641 calories each day while the rest of the world eats approximately 2,870 calories each day. Americans eat about 23% more calories each and every day than the rest of the world. It’s no wonder there is an obesity epidemic in America and why we are one of the fattest countries in the world. We eat more food and most of it is lower quality junk, fast and snack food.

2. Processed & Preserved Foods:

America uses more preservatives and processing food procedures than most countries in the world. From my research into the food growing, processing and delivery systems in America I have found that many preservatives and even carcinogenic chemicals in our food are banned in many other countries in the world, especially European countries.

A good healthy change is to start eating more organic whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

3. Sugar:

The USDA reports that Americans eat anywhere from 150-170 pounds of sugar each year. That’s more than I weigh! Other developed countries such as Canada eat around 88 pounds of sugar each year. In America sugar is added to virtually everything at the grocery store. Everything from bread to an array of drinks (including tea and juice) as well as condiments. There is sugar in virtually everything and over time Americans have had a sweet tooth craving that grows and grows. We consume more sugar than ever before and are only becoming more addicted. In one study with rats it was found that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. It’s no wonder Americans cannot seem to escape this. We have no chance in the fight for health if we just go to the grocery store and buy what we need without reading ingredient labels. In fact, if you believe that you are dependent on sugar do some research and check out the 10-day sugar detox diet. Retraining your body to be fueled and have energy as fuel from healthy fats and actual nutrition is one of the best changes you can make for your health.

4. Respect And Value Food As Nourishment:

Because in America there is such an excess of food we don’t value and respect it as a gift from our earth. Farmers and hard-working citizens put a lot of time and sweat into growing your food (unless you grow it yourself) and we tend to disrespect and not value that as much here in America. We have so much excess that we create contests and tv shows glorifying excess food experiences. Whether it’s a hot dog eating contest or a man on tv trying to eat more food than ever before on something like Man vs. Food. We don’t realize that a large portion of the world is still in poverty and struggle to eat their next meal. Maybe we as a culture and society can become more conscious and less wasteful.

I personally believe (and have seen) that parents who give their kid’s excess food and give them many options end up spoiling their children. If you do this your kid’s will begin throwing food away, not seeing it as food as much as “something the world owes me” and “I can take what I want” and throw away the rest. A healthy relationship with food starts with parenting. Choosing to feed your children healthy and teaching them to honor and respect it as nourishment, as something needed for survival is important. If only we could feel what children and adults in other countries feel we would then possibly begin to value or food and be much more grateful.

Teaching your children to value and respect the gift of food as life is important. It teaches them to be grateful and to value the food that they do eat. If you give your children too many options they begin to choose less healthy, sugar laced options which end up harming them in the long run. They may be happy in the moment but as a parent who loves your children you may need to give them a dose of tough love and do what’s best for them for their health so they can be both happy and healthy, not just happy because they got their ice cream cone and the crying stopped for you finally.

I am grateful that my parents taught my siblings and myself to value food and to not waste it.

5. We Eat FAST:

Have you ever seen an American eat? we eat literally like pigs at times! We live in the most advertised fast food culture in the world, it’s no wonder we eat fast! A large percentage of our culture doesn’t understand the value of eating slowly and intently. We once again have so much excess of food and we are always in a rush so we shove food in our face and don’t even remember to chew it.

Eating food slowly does a few things for you. First, it allows the food to be coated with more digestive enzymes so that it digests better which helps the food nourish your body better. Second, chewing food slowly allows you to appreciate and taste it better! It’s better for your health to eat slowly and you get to enjoy it more. Eating quickly, on the run, in the car and on the go is not nurturing a healthy relationship with food. It encourages you to eat fast food, junk food and packaged food more often. Take time to eat, eat slowly, eat thoroughly and chew your food! If you ever visit a country that pride’s itself in creating delicious food you’ll notice they eat slowly and really enjoy it. Practice eating slower, you’ll benefit in your health and in your appreciation and food selection mindset.

6. We Accept GMO Food More Than Most Countries:

In America we accept genetically modified food as normal more than most countries in the world. If you are unaware of how genetically modified food works do some research on it for yourself. Many countries in Europe, central and south America have banned growing genetically modified foods in the entire country. In America most monoculture farms grow GMO corn or soy and it’s widely accepted, unfortunately.