If you had all the food you ate in one year, how much would it weigh?

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astrocourt eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The answer to your question depends greatly on where you live, and what lifestyle you enjoy. However, there are groups who undertake research into food consumption, and we can look at their statistics.

The USDA ERS (United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service) has calculated that Americans eat on average 1996.3 pounds of food each year - approximately one ton. This is current (2014) research.

Guidelines for hiking suggest 1.5-2 pounds of food per person, per day. So ~730 pounds per year. However, hiking food is generally dehydrated (minimising weight) and will usually be high in fat and protein.

Moving away from the US, Australia conducted a National Nutrition Survey in 1995 (so a little old now). The results of the survey indicated that the peak food consumption levels were 4,240 g for men aged 19-24, and 3,320 g for women aged 25-44. This equates to 1.2-1.6 tons of food per year.

If we look at the UK, a 1980 study entitled "The diet of individuals: a study of randomly-chosen cross section of British adults in a Cambridgeshire village" discovered that the  average weight of food eaten per day (excluding drinks) was 1277g - or 0.4 tons.

So we can see that food consumption (by mass) varies from place to place, and also over time.

Think about, for instance, some calorific equivalents: 1 plain bagel with cream cheese is equivalent to five apples or 6 eggs - these foods all have very different masses.

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