Research - 12.12.2022 - 08:13 

Swiss Nutrition Atlas: How balanced is the diet of the Swiss population?

How do people in Switzerland eat? The Swiss Nutrition Atlas provides insight. The study was conducted by the Research Center for Retail Management (IRM-HSG) at the University of St.Gallen and with the University Clinic for Endocrinology, Diabetology, Nutritional Medicine and Metabolism of the Inselspital Bern.

Food and drink are the basis for life’s basic needs and in Switzerland, food is sufficiently available. Most people in Switzerland have enough money to buy food. But what about healthy nutrition? The Swiss Nutrition Atlas of HSG and the Inselspital Bern aim to use the research findings to stimulate public discourse on nutrition. The researchers are making the methodology available to other interested stakeholders with a comprehensive report. 

Processed foods in particular contain a large amount of additives as well as flavor-enhancing fats, sugar and salt. Consumers often hardly know how much of which nutrients they are actually consuming. People who eat an unhealthy diet have a higher risk of non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Swiss Nutrition Atlas measures daily calorie intake

Individual dietary behavior is difficult to determine and can therefore only be roughly estimated. To make estimates systematically, science has already developed various methods. The Swiss Nutrition Atlas now enables new measurements to be made on the question of how people in Switzerland eat on a daily basis. 

The research team analyzed 12 tons of food containing over 15 million kilocalories (kcal) over a two-week period (in February and March 2022). The sample included 371 households – representative in terms of Switzerland's three major language regions and household size. The cleaned data finally allow conclusions to be drawn about the dietary behavior of 456 people. On average, a Swiss person consumes an estimated 1815 kcal per day; broken down to the adult population, this is 1905 kcal per person per day. 

Too much fat, salt and sugar on the plates of the Swiss

The Swiss Nutrition Atlas also records the following consumption values of macronutrients per person and day. According to the sample, Swiss people consume on average:

  • 67g protein (corresponds to 273 kcal and 15% of the daily energy intake),
  • 85g fats (equivalent to 792 kcal and 44% of daily energy intake),
  • 188g carbohydrates (equivalent to 771 kcal and 42% of daily energy intake),
  • 83g sugar (equivalent to 342 kcal and 19% of daily energy intake), of which 38g added sugar (equivalent to 156 kcal and 9% of daily energy intake),
  • 7g salt.

The main sources of an unhealthy diet are added sugars (consumed 38% from sweets and 33% from beverages), saturated fatty acids (42% of which come from milk and dairy products or milk substitutes) and salt (23% of whose consumption is attributable to the consumption of table salt, spices and flavourings). 

Conclusion: Compared to the recommended reference intake, the Swiss population consumes above-average amounts of fat, salt and sugar.

Further information on the study

The Swiss Nutrition Atlas was carried out by Prof. Dr. Marc Linzmajer and Matthias Eggenschwiler from the University of St.Gallen and by Prof. Dr. med. Dr. phil. Lia Bally. The project was financially supported by Coca-Cola HBC Schweiz AG. In the long term, the study pursues the vision of collecting nutritional data that can map the nutritional behavior of the Swiss population. For this reason, "Atlas" is a collection of thematically, substantively or regionally related maps. In the future, this could be used to map dietary differences through more comprehensive surveys.  

The detailed study results and further information can be found at:

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