Book Review: Around the World in 80 Diets

Food preparation is one of the linchpins of a culture. Some feel that part of America’s obesity problem is that we don’t have a unified food culture, that Americans actually face too much choice. Husband and wife team Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio traveled around the world to document what is eaten in a day across cultures around the world. They published their finding in their latest book, What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.

“I want people to understand their own diets better — and their own chemistry and their own biology,” Menzel told NPR. “And make better decisions for themselves.” They traveled to thirty countries, from Egypt to Great Britain. Menzel uses photographs to document the daily nutritional intake of individuals, and D’Aluisio’s text accompanies the images.

While a Brazilian fisherman eats 5,200 calories a day and an American trucker eats a comparable 5,400, their of the two diets are vastly different. The fisherman’s meals seem fairly healthy, made up of freshwater fish, pinto beans and whole milk. We see that is his has an average build. The trucker, on the other hand, gets his calories from cheeseburgers, fried foods, and sugary drinks. These two diets stand is stark contrast to those of the Chinese acrobat who eats 1,700 calories per day or the Kenyan herder who only consumes 800 calories.

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