Finns gain more than one third of their nutrition from animal-based products. Only Iceland and Denmark ate more such products in a global comparison based on statistics from 2005.
The comparison, released on Thursday by Aalto University, shows Finns top of the list in part because of very high levels of dairy consumption.
"Dairy product consumption accounts for the largest share of animal products in Finns’ diets," said Miina Porkka of the university. "Pork products are second. Cultural reasons are behind the dietary choices."
Finns consumed around 1,200 kilocalories per day from animal products. Around half of that came from milk products and nearly a third from bacon and other pork products.
More than 1/2 are heavy consumers
The research compared consumption patterns from 1965 to 2005. It showed that heavy consumers of animal products (defined as those who obtain more than 15 percent of their calories from animal products) now make up more than half of the population, compared to 33 percent in 1965.
Researchers say that international trade is the main reason for improved diets.
"In the 1960s and 1970s, insufficient food production in a country amounted to food shortage, but nowadays the production deficit is increasingly balanced through food imports," said Porkka.
That shows in the proportion of the population eating more than 2,500 calories per day, which has doubled to 61 percent. Those with a critically low food supply, defined as eating fewer than 2,000 calories per day, now make up just 3 percent of the global population. That compares to a peak of 51 percent.