The Top 10 Countries that Consume the Most Calories Per Day and What The Diet Is Like

The Top 10 Countries that Consume the Most Calories Per Day and What The Diet Is Like
Leonardo Biolatto

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Leonardo Biolatto.

Written by Jonatan Menguez

Last update: 15 August, 2023

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published a report on the amount of calories consumed by 184 countries. Most of the top positions are occupied by European nations, plus 2 from the Middle East and the United States. In this article, you can find out the countries that consume the most calories and what the diet is like in each of these countries. 

How was the report compiled?

An analysis published by the University of Oxford organizes 184 countries in the world according to the number of calories their inhabitants consume per day. The report is based on data collected by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the latest year for which is 2020.

A striking detail is that most of the nations exceed the 2000 calories that their inhabitants consume on average per day. While all the occupants of the first 10 positions are above 3500 calories per day.

This number exceeds the general recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO suggests between 1600 and 2000 calories for adult women and 2000-2500 for men. However, factors such as age, body weight and the physical activity performed intervene in each particular case.

For its part, the Spanish Ministry of Health highlights the convenient distribution of caloric intake at different times of the day:

  • Breakfast. 20% of daily calories.
  • Mid-morning. Between 5 and 10 %.
  • Lunch. 30 %.
  • Snack. Between 5 and 10 %.
  • Dinner. 25 to 30 %.

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These are the countries that consume the most calories

In addition to the number of calories, the statistics also report the amount of protein, fat, and meat that each country consumes on a daily average. It should be clarified that the data do not take into account the amount of food that’s wasted.

10. Romania: 3599.76 kcal

The 10th place in the table is occupied by Romania. According to data from the same study, the inhabitants of this Balkan nation consume 180 grams of meat and 128.30 grams of fat per day.

According to the Association of Spanish Companies in Romania, dairy products, coffee, and poultry make up a large percentage of their eating habits. In addition, meat, fruits, vegetables, and oils are also relevant.

In the cultural aspect, they have gastronomy influenced by Balkan, German, and Hungarian cuisine. Soups and meat and fish dishes abound.

9. Qatar: 3609.15 kcal

Next on the list is Qatar, a small Arab state that has seen exponential economic growth in recent decades. Within the daily calories, Qataris integrate 216.94 grams of meat and 131.07 grams of fat. Meanwhile, more than half of their protein intake comes from vegetables and, in second place, meats.

Most of Qatar’s typical dishes, such as majboos, warak enab, or kousa, contain rice and meat. White rice is a grain that has 361 calories in a 100-gram serving, while brown rice is barely reduced to 345. However, that amount is modified to about 130 calories once it’s cooked.

8. Countries that consume the most calories: Italy: 3620.56 kcal

From this instance, it’s noticeable how the countries that consume the most calories per day are also the ones that ingest the most fat. For example, the diet of Italians consists of an average of 155 grams of fat per day, which makes this country the tenth largest consumer in the world.

In turn, meats account for 195 grams of their diet per day. The influence of pasta, pizza, risotto, and gelato in the European country’s gastronomy is well known. However, the intake of dairy products stands out, which occupy 20% of their daily protein intake.

7. Germany: 3647.81 kcal

The next place is occupied by Germany, a country that, in turn, makes a great leap among the world’s largest consumers of fat. The 166 grams per day places it as the fourth country with the highest intake. It’s likely that the consumption of meats and sausages, very important in its gastronomy, explains part of the situation.

In addition, statistics indicate that Germans incorporate a good part of their proteins through meat. In this sense, it’s the country within this Top 10 list that integrates the fewest grams of vegetable protein in its diet.

6. Austria: 3738.94 kcal

The sixth largest consumer of calories in the world is, at the same time, the country that ingests the most fat per person. Some 185 grams place it at the top of this table, while meat intake accounts for 213 grams per day.

Austrian cuisine is clearly close to German cuisine. For example, it absolutely favors sausages, which are very popular in street foods. However, one of the most representative dishes of the country is the wiener schnitzel, composed of veal or chicken, breaded, and fried.

5. Turkey: 3762.08 kcal

The Turkish dish par excellence is the kebab, consisting of slices of meat, vegetables, and sauce on pita bread. Also popular is dolma, which wraps chunks of beef and cooked rice in vine leaves. Other typical preparations also demonstrate the influence of meat, vegetables, and rice in Turkish cuisine.

A striking fact is that, unlike the above countries, Turks ingest the vast majority of their protein through vegetables. In addition, the daily fat intake is 125 grams, notably lower than in Austria and Germany.

4. Belgium: 3824.21 kcal

This European country has strong French and Dutch influences in its cuisine, although it also incorporates North African and Oriental elements. Belgian culture places great emphasis on its food, which is one of the distinctive features of the region. Its typical dishes include potatoes, sausage, and fish.

Thus, Belgians consume almost 170 grams of meat and 180 grams of fat per day, making them the third country with the highest intake of the latter. Another remarkable fact is that it’s the country in this ranking that most incorporates its proteins through dairy products, representing almost 30% of the total.

3. Countries that consume the most calories: Ireland: 3850.50 kcal

Entering the podium of the largest consumers of calories, it’s possible to find another European nation. In Ireland, potatoes are also a frequent ingredient of its typical dishes, such as colcannon or champ. The Irish eat a lot of meat and, in terms of fat, they rank sixth in the world with 162 grams per person per day.

This is reflected in their characteristic breakfast: sausages, bacon, black pudding, potato bread, and fried eggs. It’s common for high-calorie diets to include fried foods.

Fried foods in oil or fat significantly increase the caloric value of meals. According to a study in the journal Food Science and Nutrition, habitual consumption is associated with an increased risk of overweight and high blood pressure.

2. The United States: 3868.28 kcal

The second country in the world with the highest caloric intake is also the second largest consumer of meat and fat in the world. Americans get most of their protein from meat, and this is not a causality in the country where fast food was born.

In this regard, a study by the Ibero-American Journal for Educational Research and Development suggests that excess fast food intake may favor the development of obesity. In addition, it’s also a risk factor for related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and arterial hypertension.

On the other hand, a survey by the British medical journal The Lancet calculated the global prevalence of overweight and obesity between 1980 and 2013. The results showed that the United States is the country with the highest proportion of obese and overweight people.

1. Bahrain: 4012.45 kcal

The country with the highest caloric intake in the world is the small Arabian country in the Persian Gulf, located north of Qatar and east of Saudi Arabia. Its population of 1.5 million people consumes 156 grams of fat per day, which places the country as the ninth largest consumer in the world.

Chicken, lamb, rice, chickpeas, and spices are prevalent in its typical dishes, which have a strong Arab influence. In addition, their protein sources are balanced, with a prevalence of vegetable protein.

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The countries that consume the most calories and their diets

According to WHO recommendations, a healthy diet should include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. In addition, the agency suggests that fats should not exceed 30% of total caloric intake.

In this sense, many of the regions that consume the most calories per day are also the biggest consumers of fat. So, how’s the situation in your country?

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.