Best and worst diets

I was also surprised to find out that the n.1 most healthy country is Iceland. this because of local food like fish, their rye bread is high in fibre, and skyr, a local dairy product that is high in protein and calcium, but low in fat.

The top 10 countries with the best and worst diets in the world

A study confirmed that African countries have some of the best diets in the world.

18:09 20 February 2015

A recent study has revealed the top 10 countries with the best and worst diets in the world. Chad, Mali, and Cameroon were voted as the healthiest while Armenia, Hungary, and Belgium are the top three countries with worst diets.

The research looked at the diets of almost 4.5million adults across 187 countries. It found that the intake of unhealthy food such as processed meat and sweetened drinks have significantly increased overall.

Between 1990 and 2010, high-income nations attempted to reduce their consumption of unhealthy food. However, people living in the wealthiest regions have some of the poorest quality diets in the world. These include people living in Western Europe, Australia, Canada, and United States.

Researcher Dariush Mozaffarian said: “There is a particularly urgent need to focus on improving diet quality among poorer populations. If we do nothing, undernutrition will be rapidly eclipsed by obesity and non-communicable diseases, as is already been seen in India, China, and other middle income countries.”

Dr Fumiaki Imamura, from the University of Cambridge said: “By 2020, projections indicate that non-communicable diseases will account for 75 per cent of all deaths. Improving diet has a crucial role to play in reducing this burden.

“Our findings have implications for governments and international bodies worldwide. The distinct dietary trends based on healthy and unhealthy foods, we highlight, indicate the need to understand different, multiple causes of these trends, such as agricultural, food industry, and health policy. Policy actions in multiple domains are essential to help people achieve optimal diets to control the obesity epidemic and reduce non-communicable diseases in all regions of the world.”

Countries with the healthiest diets:

  1. Chad 
  2. Mali 
  3. Cameroon 
  4. Guyana 
  5. Tunisia 
  6. Sierra Leone 
  7. Laos 
  8. Nigeria 
  9. Guatemala
  10. French Guiana

Countries with the unhealthiest diets: 

  1. Armenia 
  2. Hungary 
  3. Belgium 
  4. USA 
  5. Russia 
  6. Iceland 
  7. Latvia 
  8. Brazil 
  9. Colombia 
  10. Australia



50 Of The World’s Best and Worst Diets (part 1)

From the streets of Mexico, to the hills of Italy. From the plaines of Africa, to the shores of the South Pacific! This is what two Channel 4 TV presenters did when they went on an amazing global journey to investigate the best and worst diets.

They took 50 diets from across the world, and with the insights of expert dieticians and doctors, ranked them starting with the worst and counting down to the best diet in the world.

Basically, families from around the globe willingly shared their weekly shop. And as you can probably guess, based on different cultural diets, some countries were extremely healthy, happy and active…

…where others were obese, suffered severely with health problems and were losing out on nutrients from good, wholesome food.

It was an eye-opener.

To think, that some countries actually hold the secret on how we should eat…to depict a long, healthy and prosperous life. However, this documentary started at the bottom of the list and revealed the devastating consequences of a poor diet. They took a few key factors in consideration when they compiled this list. It included types of fat eaten, alcohol intake, obesity, diet related cancer and life expectancy.

In this article, I go through the ones that really shocked and impressed me at the same time. Before I continue, let me just say this:

All the data presented here is for informational purposes only. PÜR Wellness does not claim its accuracy, completeness, currentness, or validity of the information provided, and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays or endure any losses, injuries, or damages arising from using it.

The first on the list of the worst diet in the world was the…


…an island located in the northern Pacific Ocean. This beautiful paradise has the highest death rate of diabetes in the world! Their diets contained lots of white rice, tinned vegetables and high-fat processed meat such as turkey tail! An absolute deadly combination.

To proof that this diet was incredibly unhealthy, a mom of two—that shared her weekly shop with the TV presenters—went for a diabetes test at her local doctor. To determine how high her blood sugar was, the doctor used a measurement unit to indicate the concentration of blood glucose in weight dimension.

This is done in milligram per decilitre. So basically, any thing above 100 mg/dl will indicate some sort of pre-diabetes. Anything over 200, will be evidently clear that she has diabetes.

The moment of truth revealed a staggering 439 mg/dl. Which basically means she needed to go on insulin. That shocking revelation made her immediately think differently about her family’s diet.

Second lowest on the list is…


Their love for root vegetables and beetroot soup should put them higher on the list. However, it is one item on their shopping list that puts them here- VODKA!  According to the research done by experts here, a quarter of Russian men die before the age of 55. Causes of death include liver disease, alcohol poisoning, car accidents and drunken fights.

The countries ranked from…


Reason? The coherence of junk food and a sedentary lifestyle!

This is called the New World Syndrome. People are starting to live in a very automated society! The convenience and cheapness of food is becoming too appealing. They can do online food shopping and ensure it gets delivered to their door the next day; modern transportation is decreasing physical exertions; ready-made, microwavable meals kill off any nutrients in food and technology is turning nations into couch potatoes!

I wonder sometimes, if the world is going to end up like that animated movie called, ‘Wall-E’—where human beings become so obese, machines are starting to do all the work for them. To no surprise, at..

 #44 MEXICO 

…was next on the list.

With tacos, burritos and tortillas being popular street foods…no wonder 1 out of 3 people are obese in this country. Just like the Marshall islands, they don’t eat many fresh or natural foods. They drink copious amounts of soft drinks and eat cheap calories from imported foods. Next up, is the land of opportunity…


…where every portion of food or drink can be ‘super-sized’. This is the world of plenty! But where did it all go wrong for this nation? According to the documentary, it all started back in 1971 where President Nixon was hopeful for a re-election. Many Americans at the time were very unhappy about the high cost of food. So to get the price down, Nixon encouraged farmers to mass produce crops… …and one in particular—corn! This process created a new product called high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)—A cheap sugar sweetener that can be found in thousands of food products today. However, it didn’t just stay in America. This processed product spread like wild fire to other countries with similar dieting problems such as…


These countries deal with the same issue– Mass produce food. For instance, Turkey’s major percentage of energy comes from bread (44%) and cereals.


I have to admit, when they mentioned Australia being so high up on the list of worst diets…I was very surprised. I guess I’ve always pictured Australians as active individuals being on the beach and surfing a lot. In reality, Australia has one of the fastest growing rates of obesity. Why? Plenty of meat and beer! This is is a very similar mindset that my native country, South Africa has! And although it wasn’t on the list—which it should have been—it would fall right next to Australia. The problem is, even though there are plenty of fresh fruit and vegetablesavailable in these type of countries, commercialised and processed food is just cheaper! And much easier to get.

Now, if you’ve paid close attention, you’ll see that there is indeed a huge pattern in the way people make their diet choices—they all go for quick, cheap and easy access food! Which is probably why the UK is next on the list. Please stay tune for part 2 as we count down from country to country, to find out who holds the ‘holy grail’ of the best diet in the world!



50 Of The World’s Best and Worst Diets (part 2)

All the data presented here is for informational purposes only. PÜR Wellness does not claim its accuracy, completeness, currentness, or validity of the information provided, and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays or endure any losses, injuries, or damages arising from using it. This is part 2 of the world’s best and worst diets. If you haven’t read the first part, you can click here

Now that we’ve discussed the 13 worst diets in the world so far, let’s look at the next 4 countries in the UK. The reason why they’re ranked so high—or so low rather—is that the single biggest killer in the UK is heart disease!


So where did it all go wrong? In the 1960’s, it was normal to start the day with a full english breakfast. Today, most of us are aware of the saturated fat in bacon, sausages and black pudding! But contrary to what people ate back then, only 1% of men and 2% of women were obese compare to nearly a quarter of the population today.

For example: When a family of seven—from Milton Keynes—shared their weekly shop with the presenters, it was obvious why the UK suffer from obesity and heart disease. Instead of having a cupboard full of fresh vegetables and fruit, this family’s diet consisted of processed food and drinks! As a result of poor food choices, chocolate squares and pasta were their favourite things to eat!

Moving on now to the next few countries….


Almost a third of the population is obese! It is also here, where one of the UK’s first ready-made meals were born called Fray Bentos—named after a small town.

Next up at…


This is the home of the high fibre, super grain quinoa. This stable food was very cheap to produce at one stage, but until the western world’s health fanatics caught on, its price went through the roof. Sadly, many Bolivians can no longer afford to eat it. Which means, that they had to settle for cheap, imported foods. And their diets have never been the same again.


These countries slowly swapped their national dishes such as beef goulash, borsch and blinis for junk food due to high competition from fast food franchises. So as they upped their intake of junk food, so did their waistlines.


After the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba was plunged into an economic crises and instead of getting worst with their diets, they actually became slimmer and healthier. But it didn’t last long. As the economy improved, the opposite happened with their diet…and obesity rates went up.


This country is one of the biggest exporters of beef, chicken and soybean. So as well as feeding the world, they’ve also been feeding themselves very well. So far, you’ve read what a high sugar diet can do to any nation, and how this world is slowly relying on a few ingredients—such as corn syrup—to fill up most of their meals.

Now it’s time to discover some of the healthiest and weirdest diets in the world such as…


worlds best diet

This country is lushed with a rich food heritage! Although most people there live in poverty, malnutrition still effects parts of Ethiopia. And western food hasn’t reached beyond the big cities. At a local market, ingredients such as grains, spices, chillies, chilli powder, pulses and dried beans are everywhere! But one in particular grain—called teff—is what puts this country so high up on the list. It is the smallest grain in agriculture! And it’s completely unprocessed that’s full of soluble fibre and iron.

It also makes up two thirds of their protein!

Here they grind it into flour that makes a dish called ‘injera’- the stable food used with almost all other dishes. It gets turned into a type of pancake and then filled with all sorts of vegetables, pulses and spices. When the presenter revealed their weekly shop as it did with other western countries, it was completely different.

Filled with vegetables, fibre and almost no meat, this combination was proven to be the reason why these rural africans have such a low rate of colon cancer. And to put it to the test, one of the locals was asked to eat a tin of sweetcorn with the TV presenter…

…to see who’s colon works the fastest.

It’s thought the quicker we can get rid of waste from our digestive system, the lower the risk is of getting colon cancer. The next morning, they ‘compared notes’ to find out how fast it worked. The local already discarded the sweetcorn from his body, while the presenter still had it in his system. So that passed through the man’s digestive system in 9 hours, where it will take most people in the UK 2-3 days.

Colon cancer is the one cancer that is directly linked to our diets…

And even though we will never be able to eat like Ethiopians, surely we can upped the intake of fibre and vegetables, and retrench on red meat over all!

The next two places on the list are quite contradictory to the previous diet. Here, instead of high consumption of grains, they almost just eat meat!

Do you suspect a food intolerance in your diet? Phone us on 020 7243 1718 and put your mind at ease! Our food intolerance test can identify up to 150 different food and drink types that may cause fatigue, digestive issues and other health concerns. Quote “50DIETS” to get a £50 off your food intolerance test now.


Their diet consist only of three ingredients- meat, milk and cow’s blood! So what is the requisite to be on this list? Their low cholesterol levels! However, many experts believe that the Maasai people have biologically adapted well to their diet.


These indigenous people from the arctic regions of Greenland, Canada and United states are raw meat eaters!

But not just any meat— seal liver, raw brain and whale skin! So how did they make it into the top 25 without eating any fruit or vegetables? The whale skin, such as Muktuk, is a good source of Vitamin C. In fact, it can contain up to 38 mg per 100 grams. So weight-for-weight, it has the same amount as orange juice. Also, they have no carbs in their diet so in many ways it’s the original atkins diet, where all their energy comes from protein.The next culture has more to do with what the animals produce rather than being part of a diet.


According to the research done, it’s the lama that has helped the Inca civilisation flourish…and it’s what comes out of the animal’s backend, the manure, that enrich their soils and help crops—like maize—grow!


Due to their religious beliefs, alcohol is forbidden. So instead, they love drinking mint tea. Studies have shown that spearmint can have hormone reducing effects—so it could help women with polycystic overies and excessive hairiness.


Here, religion plays a big part of their diet again. That means, Kosher foods have their own rules! For instance, you can’t mix your meat with your dairy. Or eat any non-kosher food such as pork.

And because of this ‘food combining’ ritual, they do pretty well with their diet.


To be honest, I strongly believed that this country should have been lower down on the list based on the amount of rice they consume. White rice is not a smart move for your heart. When you eat refined carbohydrates, the excess energy from it is converted to fat by your liver while your blood sugar can rise to dangerous levels.

But the traditional chinese diet contains plenty of vegetables. In fact, studies have shown that the Chinese eat 40% more vegetables than us here in the UK. So diversity plays a big role here, partly because of the size of the country. While many may have a poor diets in certain regions, there are parts that live by healthier standards.


These countries share a similar cuisine of rice, vegetables, fresh herbs and fiery hot chilli peppers. And although these peppers can be painful to eat, studies have shown that the chemicals in chilli may increase metabolism and release endorphins—the feel-good hormone.

As we head towards the world’s best diet, you’ll soon discover why some of the healthiest diets aren’t always the easiest to swallow…

From food that still moves around in your plate, to cocoa as the most important ingredient in a diet, can this be some of the healthiest food choices in the world?


worlds best dietThis country has some of the lowest obesity rates in the world. Why is that? Because the South Koreans eat a wide variety of fresh fish. It is a low calorie protein source. And one courageous TV presenter, decided to eat two of the most extreme raw fish dishes—one of them was chopped up octopus.

The reason for the extremeness?

The octopus—although technically dead—is still moving around on the plate. This happens when all the nerve endings are firing off, making it seem like they are still alive.

As the presenter took a bite of the octopus, it was still whirling in her mouth! The suckers were grabbing onto her lip as she was chewing.

The second extreme dish is fermented skate, a fish belonging to the family of rays. This fish excretes urine acid through its skin, giving it a overpowering ammonia smell. Do I dare elaborate how that would taste? This might be going a little bit too far for someone to maintain good health.

The Secret To Staying Skinny?

But despite the eccentric diet choices, we can learn from it as you won’t find many processed food in their kitchen cupboard. The only reason why this country isn’t lower down on the list, is because the Koreans drink the most spirits in the world. However, they eat twice as much vegetables as the UK, and have almost no dairy in their diets as an estimated 90% of east Asians are lactose intolerant.

Their secret for being so skinny? 

A national dish called Kimchi eaten three times a day. It is fermented cabbage that’s high in Vitamin B12! This helps protect the heart’s cells and reduce arterial inflammation. That’s probably why the Koreans have been eating it for centuries.

The truth is, this country works some of the longest hours in the world, yet never deviates away from their traditional diet, where other countries give in to ready-made meals and cheap calories to cope with hectic work schedules. So, can lots of vegetables and fermented foods be the secret to staying slim and healthy? Whatever the reason, I’m very impressed, and I honestly believe it should have been in the top 5 of diets to consider.

Do you suspect a food intolerance in your diet? Phone us on 020 7243 1718 and put your mind at ease! Our food intolerance test can identify up to 150 different food and drink types that may cause fatigue, digestive issues and other health concerns. Quote “50DIETS” to get a £50 off your food intolerance test now.


where coconut milk is found in almost every dish. Studies have shown that it raises levels of good cholesterol and it’s a good source of medium chain triglycerides (MCT). This simply means that it helps fuel your muscles well after exercising.


Unfortunately, the documentary didn’t go into much detail why this country was so low on the list except for research done on one ingredient- Turmeric. You see, this herbaceous plant of the ginger family has properties that can help treat or even prevent cancer. And considering that this one ingredient can be found in almost all of India’s dishes, gives them that slight advantage over other diets. But is this enough?

Well, now it’s time to move into the top 10 countries with the healthiest diets in the world. And honestly…not all of them deserve it in my opinionFor instance…


…because it’s home to the world’s tallest people. While many other countries justified their place on this list, I don’t believe drinking a lot of milk is an ample reason for such a high rank. For our next country, it seems that those big lunches, lazy siestas and late tapas are working well for their health.


Spanish ladies are the longest living women in Europe, second only to Japan, with an average life expectancy of 85 years!


worlds best diet

You’d think with all the foie gras, bread and cheese, this country should have more heart problems than any other country in the world. But despite all of that, France actually has low levels of cholesterol and heart disease. So what element in their diet gives them that edge? Some say it’s the red wine, or more controversially—the cheese.

In fact, researchers in Cambridge believe that the mould in blue cheese can act as an anti-inflammatory on our cardiovascular system. Now, the argument may be that the french never replaced their saturated fat dishes with carbohydrates (sugar) like most other countries did 20-30 years ago. Or on a very basic level, figured out how to balance that good and bad cholesterol in their blood through their diet.

The French Paradox…

No wonder experts call this the ‘French paradox’. Their attitudes towards food is much different from other countries. They concentrate on eating three times a day, have smaller portions and do not snack in between. Plus, they take at least an hour—sometimes two—to eat lunch! Where in the UK,  20 minutes for a pack of crisps, a sandwich and a drink will have to do.

But at what cost?

This clearly shows that it isn’t just a single element or ingredient that can give you that balanced, healthy lifestyle…but a combination of things. And here, it seems the french have found the secret!


Chocolate, especially cocoa, is a big part of their diet. They can drink up to 5 cups of cocoa a day and have some of the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease and blood pressure in the world. However, with the combination of plantains, coconuts, and fish…the Kuna diet is one of the healthiest around.


The danish diet has really made an impact on the world as it’s rich in berries, grains like rye, fish and seasonal vegetables. They call it the ‘Mediterranean diet of the north’


…with its rich diet of fresh vegetables and fish. And of course, researches have found that Japanese women have the world’s longest life expectancy at 87 years.


This group of christianity started in the U.S. It’s been known that John Harvey Kellogg—the inventor of cornflakes breakfast cereal—was part of this religious group until 1907.

So what makes their diet special?

It’s rather what they don’t do! In other words…they don’t smoke, drink or eat meat. Research in America have shown that it could add up to 10 years to your life for living this way. There’s actually 25,000 people in the UK that belongs to the Seventh day adventist group and they take their diets very seriously. Sugar, alcohol and caffeine get replaced by pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds and nuts that are rich in omega 3. Research show that these type of seeds and nuts can protect you from heart attacks, high blood pressure and even wrinkles!

The truth is, I totally agree with it. Unfortunately, I’m not as strict as they are about certain ingredients. Nevertheless, out of all the diets I have written about here, this one will be on the top of my list.

The Mediterranean Diet Everyone is Talking About…

Moving on now to the top 3 best diets in the world.


worlds best diet

Especially, an Italian town called Campodimele, that’s nicknamed the village of longevity as the average life expectancy was measured at 95 years. Just amazing! Here, the locals still do their own farming at the age of 84. They live off the land, and produce their own food without any outside influences. The rich, fertile soil means that their fruit and vegetables are high in nutrients. So the question is…can this simple, quiet life be the answer to optimum health and well-being?

Well, one thing is for sure—every ingredient is fresh and comes off from their lands. This might just be the reason for their longevity.

Or, it might just be the mediterranean diet itself, which is rich in legumes, fruit, vegetables, fish—and of course—lots of olive oil! They also have moderate amounts of dairy, alcohol and red meat.

In 1985, the World Health Organisation (WHO) came to Campodimele and found that the cholesterol levels here were lower than in new born babies! Since then, researchers have been really interested in this amazing village. My guess is, we should all pay close attention.

Finally, we get to the best diet in the world. And to be able to find that, the TV presenters had to travel to the end of world!


Why? Well, it’s one of the cleanest environments in the world. Where other countries struggle with illnesses and diseases, Iceland has a very low rate of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, strokes and diabetes. They also have the highest life expectancy in men at 81.2 years! And the answer may be in the array of fish that’s available. And thanks to the geothermal energy from the surrounding volcanoes, there’s almost no pollution!

So with these combinations, no wonder they have the best diet in the world. They also strongly believe that food should be eaten in it’s most natural form. So unlike the UK—where food gets altered constantly—they prefer their food fresh and locally grown. The strange thing is…there isn’t a lot of fruit and vegetables in the Icelandic diet!

However, most of their meat and dairy come from family farms where the animals are grass fed only. Their rye bread is high in fibre, and skyr—a local dairy product— is high in protein and calcium, but low in fat. And of course…they eat plenty of fish! To some, this might not sound like the healthiest diet. But if you pay close attention to what these top diets simply don’t have, or have minimum of, is processed food!

In all the top diets in the world, the food seems to be fresher, purer and traditionally produced!

It doesn’t get altered, bleached or turned into a quick fix meal. In fact, we all can eat the best diet in the world by simply understanding one thing— processed food may be the biggest culprit in obesity and metabolic diseases! And if we truly want to live longer, be more active and experience true health…cutting these ‘refined’ foods out of our diet is the only way to go!


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