Rice is still the main energy source for Koreans, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last month, though the proportion is dwindling steadily.
Rice accounted for 31.6 percent of energy sources in 2012, down from 42 percent in 1998. Daily calories obtained from rice also decreased 25 percent from 834.2 kcal to 629.4 kcal. People now consume less than two bowls of rice a day.
The main reason is a growing variety of available food and the resulting dietary changes.
Another main source of calories is alcohol. In 1998, soju accounted for 1.2 percent of overall calories, ranking 14th, but the liquor has now jumped to an alarming fifth place with 2.6 percent. Beer rose 17th in 2012 but was not even among the top 30 in 1998.
Daily alcohol consumption per person more than doubled from 48.9 g in 1998 to 107.3 g in 2012.