Eating Habits: Plus & Minus

Eating Habits: Plus & MinusEating Habits: Plus & Minus

Iran can be considered a nation of bread eaters, as according to official figures, Iranians consume the most bread per capita (160 kg per person) in the world after Turkey with 199.6 kg per person. European countries consume almost twice or three times less bread. As an example bread per capita consumption is 56 kg and 70 kg in France and Germany, respectively.

Different kinds of breads, traditional and modern, are baked in the country. Most of the Iranian traditional breads, known as ‘nan’ locally, are made of brown flour and are flat breads. Iranians are known to mostly prefer traditional bread.

But recently, head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Rasoul Dinarvand warned that, “contrary to popular belief, traditional breads are not healthy as they contain high amounts of salt and baking soda.”

 The Sweet, Fat Thing

Unfortunately, Iranian diet is also characterized by a high consumption of fat, salt and sugar. At present, the annual per capita consumption of fat is 17 kg which is 4.5 kg more that the global average. But still Iranians consume less fat compared to people in Belgium, Germany and Finland which are near the top fat intake nations with 34.6 kg, 31.5 kg, 29.4 kg annual per capita fat consumption, according to Euromonitor.

Additionally, Iranians have a sweet tooth. Although each Iranian consumes 30 kg sugar annually, it is still less compared to consumption of sweets in the US, Germany and the Netherlands, where people consume 46 kg, 37.5 kg and 37.4 kg sugar respectively every year. Still Iranians’ sugar consumption is six times more than global average.

India (1.8 kg), Indonesia (5.2 kg) and China (5.5) are three countries where people don’t consume much sweet.

Further, high rate of carbonated drinks consumption in Iran can be blamed for high sugar consumption as an average Iranian annually drinks 42 liters of carbonated drinks, while the average global per capita consumption is 10 liters.

 Plus Points

Despite, all the weak points, Iranian diets have positive points. Iran is known for its vast farm and fruit produce. A bowl of fresh fruit is common on most Persian tables and vegetable dishes, including salads and herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are standard sides to most meals.

Dinarvand said that Iran is in a good condition in terms of food and vegetable consumption, as according to figures, Iranians eat two times more fruits and vegetables than people in other developing countries. “However, we still should make efforts to increase the consumption rate.”

Currently, the annual per capita consumption of fruits in Iran is 134 kg which is very close to the World Health Organization’s recommended standard of 146 kg (for a person of healthy body weight consuming approximately 2000 calories per day).

According to the WHO, adults should consume less than 18.5 kg of sugar (50 grams a day) and less than 1.8 kg of salt (less than 5 grams a day) each year.

Figures also show that an adult Iranian eats 191 eggs a year while the world’s per-capita egg consumption is 185. Eggs contain about 6 grams of high quality protein and other necessary vitamins and mineral.

Iranians eat 23 kg of poultry meat annually, 13 kg more than the world’s per capita consumption. They also consume 11 kg red meat which is 1 kg less than the world per capita consumption of red meat.