When the Sun Goes Down, The Entire World Turns to Junk Food

Illustration for article titled When the Sun Goes Down, The Entire World Turns to Junk Food

People around the world may eat different kinds of food, but data from a diet-tracking iPhone app has revealed that when it comes to eating junk food, everyone across the globe follows the same pattern. We are the world, we are the Dorito-eaters/ We are the ones who inhale a bunch of cookie dough/ So let's start pigging.


The app, Eatery, has users enter record their meals and rate their healthiness. When taken together the data, which represents about 500,000 meals in 50 countries, shows a clear pattern: People start off eating healthy in the morning, and by evening they're eating food they consider unhealthy. You can see an interactive map here which is pretty fascinating.

This data, sadly, doesn't provide any insight into why this happens, but Aza Raskin, the founder of Massive Health, the company which makes the app, says,

In terms of why, we can only make educated guesses. There is a 1.7 percent overall decrease in healthiness of what's eaten for every hour of the day that passes after breakfast. That's as true in Tokyo as it is in San Francisco as it is in São Paulo. It teaches us about something fundamental about the way people make decisions about food-and decisions in general.


It could be that our willpower fades throughout the day, leaving us with none by nightfall. Or it could be that the foods we turn to later in the evening aren't as healthy by nature—dessert, chips—than what we'd turn to for breakfast. In any event, next time you're indulging in a little midnight decadence, at least you know you're not alone.

Tracking The Junk Food The World Eats After Dark [NPR]

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Morning: I'm going to start the day off right and eat healthy! Egg whites, whole wheat toast, and a grapefruit. Good job me!

Afternoon: Okay so I ate really healthy for breakfast and now I'm starving. I'll have a chicken sandwich for lunch. Chicken is healthy right? Salad or fries...well I ate healthy this morning so I can have FRIES!

Early evening: Blergh. I had the fries. I fucked up today so I might as well have this cheese stick from the office fridge. And some Skittles.

Evening: Well fuck. Fries, cheese, and Skittles. I may as well have PIZZA for dinner. Fuck it, throw in some buffalo wings.

Tomorrow will be a new day...I'll eat healthy tomorrow.

And thus begins the cycle...