Research - 12.12.2022 - 08:13
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.
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.
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:
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.
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: ernaehrungsatlas.ch
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