Variance in Diet by Country

The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. 20% of the index is based on culture. 20% of a country’s culture score (4% of the overall Country Similarity Index score) is allocated for a country‚Äôs diet.

Carbohydrate Type

The typical staple food of countries somewhat corresponds with what crops a country grows, but not always. European countries and Anglosphere countries all eat a diet composed of mostly potatoes and wheat, which is usually used to make either bread or noodles. Pakistan and Afghanistan are almost entirely wheat based, while Belarus is almost entirely potato based. Sweet Potato is the most popular staple food in Papua New Guinea. Rice is the dominant staple food in Southeast Asia. India, Taiwan, Arabian countries and some Latin America countries also eat a diet with large portions of both rice and wheat. Corn is another popular staple food in Latin America as well as many former British colonies of Africa. Cassava, which is used to make tapioca, is a large part of the diet in many Sub-Saharan African countries, although it is originally from South America. Sorghum is often consumed in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. Millet is the predominant staple food in Niger.

The United Nations is the main source of the data:
http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/CC

Carbohydrate Consumption

West African countries bordering the Gulf of Guinea, tend to have a diet heavy in carbohydrates, since fufu is a common food there. Latin American countries in tropical regions, tend to eat less carbohydrates in their diet. One reason may be because they are eating higher amounts of fruits and eggs in these regions.

The United Nations is the main source of the data:
http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/CC

Countries were categorized into the following groups based on kilograms of carbohydrates, per capita per year:
100-150, 150-200, 200-250, 250-300, 300-350, 350-400

Fruit Consumption

The countries that eat the most fruit per capita are generally located in the Caribbean and Mediterranean regions, where the climate is favorable for their growth. Colombians eat the most fruit, so it is no surprise that it also produces many bananas, plantains, avocados, and pineapples. Some poorer African countries, especially in the Sahel region, eat few fruits. Japan is one of the few developed countries with a low amount of fruit consumption. They tend to be very expensive there.

Our World in Data is the source of the data:
https://ourworldindata.org/diet-compositions#fruit-consumption-across-the-world

Countries were categorized into the following groups based on kilograms of fruits, per capita per year:
0-40, 40-80, 80-120, 120-160, 160-200, 200-240

Vegetable Consumption

Interestingly enough, China eats the most vegetables per capita, followed by Armenia and Albania. As with fruits, the lowest consumers of vegetables tend to be the poorer countries in Africa, since their diet is just smaller in general, due to poverty.

Our World in Data is the source of the data:
https://ourworldindata.org/diet-compositions#vegetable-consumption-across-the-world

Countries were categorized into the following groups based on kilograms of vegetables, per capita per year:
0-50, 50-100, 100-150, 150-200, 200-250, 250-300

Meat Type

Pork is the most popular meat in Europe and East Asia, but chicken is also popular in these regions. In contrast, very little pork is consumed in Muslim countries, since it is forbidden by the religion, so beef and lamb are more often eaten there. Chicken is also a very popular meat the Middle East, as well as the Western Hemisphere. Although there are many types of meat from seafood, for the purposes of this study they were grouped together. Obviously fish tends to be more popular in countries that are located next to the ocean, especially in South and East Asia, as well as West Africa. Laos is the only landlocked nation where fish is the most commonly eaten meat

The United Nations and is the main source of the data:
https://ghostinthedata.com/meatmap/
https://i.imgur.com/UVcLfu2.png

Meat Consumption

In general, wealthier and more developed countries eat more meat, since it can be expensive to produce. The United States and Australia eat the most meat per capita. In contrast, India and Bangladesh eat the least amount of meat per capita. In fact, around one-third of Indians are vegetarian, but they counterintuitively tend to be from the higher classes.

Our World in Data is the main source:
https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/meat-supply-per-person?time=2017

Countries were categorized into the following groups based on kilograms of meat, per capita per year:
0-30, 30-60, 60-90, 90-120, 120-150, 150-180

Egg Consumption

Like meat, in general, wealthier and more developed countries eat more eggs per capita. However, Mexico, Japan, and China are three of the biggest consumers. Sub-Saharan African countries eat by far the lowest amounts of eggs per capita.

Our World in Data is the main source:
https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/per-capita-egg-consumption-kilograms-per-year?time=2017

Countries were categorized into the following groups based on kilograms of eggs, per capita per year:
0-3.33, 3.33-6.66, 6.66-10, 10-13.33, 13.33-16.66, 16.66-20

Cheese Consumption

Eating cheese is most common in Europe. It is especially popular in Italy, France, and Greece. However, it is also popular in Canada, United States, and Australia. Countries in East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and Sub-Saharan Africa, have very little cheese in their diet.

The United Nations is the main source of the data:
http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/CL
http://chartsbin.com/view/23089

Countries were categorized into the following groups based on kilograms of cheese, per capita per year:
0-2.5, 2.5-5, 5-10, 10-15, 15-22.5, 22.5-30

Obviously there is no one clear way to determine how similar one country is to another. How would you quantify how similar one country is to another?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.

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