The Differences Between Kim Jong Un’s Diet and a Typical North Korean’s Will Shock You

When you picture Korean food, your mind probably gravitates toward kimchi, rice, and sushi. Most North Koreans do eat these foods on a regular basis — except for one. Kim Jong Un’s diet isn’t anything like the rest of North Korean cuisine. Here’s how they differ.

Kim Jong Un’s diet is high in saturated fat

This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim

Cheese is always on his menu. | STR/AFP/Getty Images

If you think you eat a lot of cheese, take a step back. Kim Jong Un’s diet may consist largely of cheese made from whole milk. He’s eaten enough of it in the past to fall ill — that’s a lot of cheese. He also frequently dines on sushi and Kobe steak — a form of Japanese beef.

Both cheese and beef come from animals, which means they’re naturally high in saturated fat. Too much saturated fat in a person’s diet can cause heart problems, weight gain, and more.

Next: Kim and his father went nuts over this popular item covered in meats.

Kim loves other meats like salami, prosciutto, and ham

Sliced ham on a wooden tray.

He loves the taste of savory hams and meats. | Anna Bobrowska/iStock/Getty Images

While Kobe steak may show Kim’s expensive taste, he reportedly is a fan of all types of meats. Ermanno Furlanis, the country’s first Italian chef who was recruited in 1997 just to make pizza for the elite, says both Kim and his father went nuts over pizza covered in meat. Furlanis says salami, pepperoni, ham, and prosciutto were all popular topping choices for Kim Jong Il. So it’s no wonder his son is now enjoying the same luxuries — even when North Korea’s people are not.

Next: Most North Koreans have to live off of this instead.

Most North Koreans probably don’t eat enough fat

north korea students in white and red ties lining up to sign petitions

The residents of North Korea may need a little more fat in their diet. | STR/AFP/Getty Images

The majority of people in North Korea live mostly off of rice and kimchi, a dish made from fermented cabbage. Some may be able to splurge on some forms of protein and produce every now and then, but it’s expensive — out of reach for most.

A lack of sufficient fat in the diet can also cause heart disease. Unlike eating excessive amounts of saturated fats, though, missing out on the omega-3 fatty acids found in healthy fats could eventually lead to cardiac arrest.

Next: Kim loves this expensive import.

Kim purchases expensive liquors and cigarettes

Kim Jong Un giving a statement at a desk with books behind him

With fine food comes a desire for luxurious liquor. | STR/AFP/Getty Images

It’s not uncommon to over-consume calories based solely on what you drink with or following meals. Kim’s imported liquor — specifically expensive, high-end champagne — probably doesn’t help his daily intake.

As if that isn’t worrisome enough, Kim engages in one of the worst possible habits for your health — smoking. While many North Koreans smoke cigarettes, Kim spends extra money to import already expensive cigarettes from France.

Next: Kim spends around $30 million a year importing liquor.

How much does Kim spend on alcohol and cigarettes?

Kim Jong-Un

| KNS/AFP/Getty Images

It’s no surprise that Kim enjoys sitting back and sipping on a little cognac. What’s crazy is how much the guy spends on the hooch. It’s estimated he spends around $30 million per year importing liquor. He prefers expensive brands, such as Hennessy, which can cost over $3,500  a bottle. Chump change.

If you’re going to slowly kill yourself by smoking cigarettes you might as well do it in style, like $44 per pack. Kim prefers to sustain his habit with only the most elegant of cigarettes from Yves Saint Laurent. The company has been promoting these “designer” cigarettes in certain parts of Asia and Russia.

Next: North Koreans stick to the cheap stuff.

North Koreans stick to cheap alcohol and tobacco

women in white work on yellow fabric in an assembly line

Alcohol and cigarettes are still needed by the residents. | Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Most North Korean families could never afford expensive champagne or designer cigarettes that cost the equivalent of over $40 a pack.

Despite financial troubles, many North Koreans still opt for alcohol and cigarettes. They just keep things local. Local rice wine is a common cheap purchase, and the average working household can usually afford home-produced brands of cigarettes.

Next: Kim spends millions a year on his diet but most North Koreans only spend a few dollars.

Kim can afford ‘luxury’ foods, while North Koreans can’t

Kim Jong-Un North Korea

Kim Jong-Un is on a million dollar diet that most North Koreans couldn’t even dream of. | STR/AFP/Getty Images

Kim Jong Un’s diet likely costs millions of dollars, if you count all the imported cheese, beef, cigarettes, and wine. Technically, he can eat whatever he wants. The rest of the country doesn’t have that kind of culinary freedom.

While Kim indulges in fine imported cuisine, most North Koreans can barely afford to feed themselves. Most are forced to live off of the equivalent of, at minimum, about $14 per month. Cabbage and rice are cheap. Steak and cheese are not.

Next: Kim’s health is definitely on the decline.

Kim probably eats too much

Kim Jong-un with binoculars

He may need to a keep an eye on his diet. | STR/AFP/Getty Images.

While Kim’s weight has increased significantly since taking power in 2011, his health has seemingly declined. The expensive cigarettes could be at fault. Excessive amounts of cheese and red and processed meats may also contribute.

Kim Jong Un’s diet isn’t just loaded with costly saturated fat. There’s a lot of everything — including bottles upon bottles of champagne. Regardless of what you’re eating, if you’re having too much, you’re much more likely to appear overweight.

Next: North Koreans are malnourished.

North Koreans probably aren’t eating enough

North and South Korea today came to an agreement to ease tensions

The average person in North Korea is probably malnourished. | Stringer/Getty Images

A large percentage of North Korean women and children are malnourished. The low-fat, low-protein diets they can afford simply can’t provide the nutrition necessary to keep them healthy.

Even a diet consisting of mostly boiled rice and fermented cabbage isn’t enough to sustain the average person in the long-term. The occasional cheap protein sources help, but while their leader struggles to limit his calorie intake, the country’s overall population simply, and barely, survives.

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