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April 24, 2024
Healthy Eating

Did you know that a BBC documentary has found the world’s unhealthiest ways to eat?

I recently watched an amazing documentary, made by the BBC, which was really eye-opening.Here it is: The World’s Healthiest Ways to Eat. The team took a look at what people eat around the world and ranked 50 from healthiest to least healthy. There are a number of criteria they use to measure health, and obesity is probably one of the main ones, so let’s start at the least healthy end of the spectrum.

01 Part 1: Worst.

At the bottom of the list is the diet of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific: the name may not be familiar to you, but you know Bikini, where the United States tested the atomic bomb. It’s fitting that this is the worst place to be, because not only do they have a magical obesity problem, but there are very few people who don’t have diabetes. Coupled with their poor medical care, many have to amputate their limbs if they develop severe diabetes. (The broken hands and feet had to be amputated because the wounds barely healed on their own.) So what do people eat here? The first thing we are all familiar with is the most basic staple food: rice. Of course, it doesn’t mean that eating rice will give you diabetes and amputation. It’s not that bad. There are many other aspects to the Marshall Islands’ dietary problem. (But rice isn’t a very healthy food, as we’ll see later.) One of their big problems is that they live almost entirely on canned food because it’s cheap: vegetables are canned, meat is almost canned. The only fresh meat is some very fatty meats, like Turkey butt. And it’s all about cheap, because the Marshall Islands are really poor. This diet, combined with lots of rice, has led to a diabetes epidemic.

02 Part 2: Drinking.

Slightly better than the Marshall Islands is one of our big neighbors. That would be Russia to the north, which ranks 49th: they don’t have the diabetes problem of the Marshall Islands, but they do have a serious drinking problem. So much so that most of the men here are short-lived: they drink themselves to death, they get into accidents after drinking, they get into fights after drinking, but it can be very creative. And surprisingly, Russian folk believe that drinking alcohol is good for their health: it goes without saying…

03 Part 3: Sugary Drinks and Snacks.

And then, just a little further up the list, it’s another fat nation. It’s Mexico, next door to the United States, and there are two main causes of obesity: high-sugar drinks and snacks. And they eat a lot. Does that sound familiar? Yes, it’s the fat house Happy water and all kinds of snacks that many people also love, which makes Mexico miserable. This is not the traditional way of eating in Mexico, but the way they eat is actually quite healthy. And it’s largely because of their good neighbor: the United States. Well, we seem to feel the same way. And that’s why the United States ranks woefully low on the list.

04 Part Four: Unhealthy developed countries.

The United States is not the only country with a healthy, advanced economy. In fact, this phenomenon is quite common in developed countries in Europe and the United States. Australia, for example, is only slightly higher than the US: their eating habits are similar to those of the US. And Britain is not much better. Wales is 35th, England highest at 34th, but it’s the pot calling the kettle black: just look at their dining tables, not far behind poor Mexico, with sugary drinks and high-sugar snacks: so obesity is huge, heart disease and diabetes are high. Probably the only difference between the UK and Mexico is that they have the money to buy better chocolate… And, while their table looks diverse, it’s basically the same few things, with a very one-dimensional diet: well, pretty much the same as in America. A lot of people are similar, eat high-end snacks, suffer from high-end obesity. They have passed it on not just to us, but to many of their poorer European neighbors, who have suffered from the same disease of affluence since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Other countries with collapsing economies, however, have been lucky enough to see their health improve. This is America’s former arch-enemy: Cuba. But that didn’t last long, and now with the economy improving, their health is declining, so they’re at number 26 on the list.

06 Part Five: The Healthy backward countries.

So with all this talk about unhealthy eating, we’re finally in the top 25. It’s a healthier country from here. And when you start, it’s mostly poor countries, like Ethiopia in Africa. If there was one characteristic that summed up their diet, it would be this: there are so many vegetables, so many, so many, so many. It’s almost all vegetables because the economy is too bad to afford meat. (This is both good and bad, which is why they don’t make the top 20; Meat is still necessary.) And the result of this high-fiber, veggie meal is that their stomachs are pretty good. Because a high-fibre diet causes your stomach to move faster, you get rid of these foods faster, which can reduce your chances of developing bowel cancer. To sum it up, eat more vegetables. The Maasai, at number 23, do the opposite. They eat almost no meat: milk and cow’s blood for drinks, which gives them plenty of protein and no sugar. This diet is also high in fat, but there is no scientific evidence that a single high-fat diet is harmful.

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