Learning from the African Diet?

Posted on Apr 28, 2014 | Tags: | Comments (0)

With obesity becoming increasingly problematic in the Western World - in the European Union, one in three 11-year-olds is obese - an entire industry lives from making diet recommendations. The "African diet" is one of them. Can a continent associated with hunger help Europe to get back in shape? Sounds like bad humor, but is suggested in a variety of diet forums.


"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" - a simple saying with a simple recommendation. Today, we are confronted with an ever-growing number of nutrition-related recommendations. With obesity becoming increasingly problematic in the Western World - in the European Union, one in three 11-year-olds is obese - an entire industry lives from making diet recommendations. The "African diet" is one of them. Can a continent associated with hunger help Europe to get back in shape? Sounds like bad humor, but is suggested in a variety of diet forums.

Many of the diseases associated with obesity, like diabetes, heart-disease and cancer, were less common in earlier times. Scientific studies have shown that traditional diets without pre-processed food can be beneficial for our health. The traditional African diet pyramid is based on a variety of greens, vegetables, fruits and nuts, a small amout of poultry and fish, no red meat and a very little amount of sweets. I do agree that this sounds like a healthy diet. But the European traditional diet also abstains from pre-processed food and is equally healthy, in fact very similar to the African one. Obesity rates are not only increasing in Europe, but also in Africa. Rather than facing this reality, we keep exploiting stereotypes: Africa, the place where food still grows on trees and tradition is preserved because development has not yet come. I am not denying that there are many regions  that suffer from poor development. But we should not dismiss the fact and the additional complication that Africa is at the same time facing the same problems as Western societies. Can't we just call it the traditional diet and tackle the problem together?

Leaving this debate aside, I do agree that African food is delicious and I recommend everyone to try it!



Comments (0)



This thread has been closed from taking new comments.