Active Low-Carber Forums
Atkins diet and low carb discussion provided free for information only, not as medical advice.
Home Plans Tips Recipes Tools Stories Studies Products
Active Low-Carber Forums
A sugar-free zone


Welcome to the Active Low-Carber Forums.
Support for Atkins diet, Protein Power, Neanderthin (Paleo Diet), CAD/CALP, Dr. Bernstein Diabetes Solution and any other healthy low-carb diet or plan, all are welcome in our lowcarb community. Forget starvation and fad diets -- join the healthy eating crowd! You may register by clicking here, it's free!

Go Back   Active Low-Carber Forums > Main Low-Carb Diets Forums & Support > Low-Carb Studies & Research / Media Watch > LC Research/Media
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members Calendar Mark Forums Read Search Gallery My P.L.A.N. Survey


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   ^
Old Wed, Apr-16-08, 09:46
Demi's Avatar
Demi Demi is offline
Posts: 22,570
 
Plan: Low Carb/IF
Stats: 217/209/160 Female 5'10"
BF:
Progress: 14%
Location: UK
Default The Big Question: Is changing our diet the key to resolving the global food crisis?

The Independent
London, UK
16 April, 2008


The Big Question: Is changing our diet the key to resolving the global food crisis?

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor

Why are we asking this now?

People are dying because of the global food shortage, which has sparked a sudden surge in food prices. The global food bill has risen 57 per cent in the last year, the price of rice is up by three quarters, and wheat has more than doubled. The head of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, warned this week that riots in Egypt, Cameroon, Haiti and Burkina Faso over soaring prices could spread.

World grain stocks have fallen to a 25-year low of 5 million tons, enough for two to three months, and World Food Programme officials say 33 countries in Asia and Africa face political instability as the urban poor struggle to feed their families. "The world food situation is very serious," Mr Diouf said.

Are we growing too little food to feed the world?

Bizarrely, no. There was a record global grain harvest last year. It topped 2.1 billion tons, up 5 per cent on the previous year. The problem is that a diminishing proportion of it is being turned into food. This year less than half the total grown 1.01 billion tons will find its way on to people's plates, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. And this crisis is hitting before world food supplies are further damaged by climate change.

So where is the grain going?

There are two reasons why the record amount of grain is proving insufficient to feed the world. First, a large amount is being diverted to make biofuels. From yesterday, all transport fuel sold in the UK must be mixed with at least 2.5 per cent biofuel made from crops. As our front page explained yesterday, the Government's idea is that this will make Britain's 33 million cars greener.

But the consequence is that there is less grain available for food. This year global production of biofuels will consume almost 100 million tons of grain grain that could have been used to feed the starving. According to the UN, it takes 232kg of corn to fill a 50-litre car tank with ethanol enough to feed a child for a year. The UN last week predicted "massacres" unless the biofuel policy is halted. Jean Ziegler, the UN's special rapporteur on the right to food, said biofuels were "a crime against humanity", and called for a five-year moratorium.

Would cutting car use solve the food crisis?

Not on its own. Of course we should be reducing our reliance on the car, and on jet travel and other profligate uses of energy, for environmental reasons. Cutting car use, and reducing energy demands overall, would cut demand for biofuels, leaving more grain available for food. But while 100 million tons of grain are being diverted to make fuel this year, over seven times as much (760 million tons) will be used to feed animals. The world's passion for meat is a much bigger cause of global hunger than its passion for the car.

How does eating meat cause hunger?

Because it is a very inefficient way of producing food. It takes 8kg of grain to produce 1kg of beef, and large tracts of forest have been cleared for grazing land that might have been used to grow crops. Chicken is more efficient to produce it takes 2kg of feed to produce 1kg of meat. To maximise food production it is best to be vegan. According to Simon Fairlie, in his magazine The Land, it would take just 3 million hectares of arable land to meet Britain's food needs, half the current total, if the population were vegan.

Isn't it completely unrealistic for Britain to go vegan?

Of course. Vegans number 0.4 per cent of the population, vegetarians 3 per cent, and most people will not take readily to a diet of green leaves, pulses, fruit and nuts. This is about the direction we should be moving in, not the ultimate destination. We should be aiming to reduce our meat and dairy consumption, and increase consumption of fruit and vegetables.

We are eating 50 per cent more meat than in the 1960s, and global consumption is forecast to double by 2050. More of the extra is chicken, and we eat less red meat than in the past (and a lot less than the Americans). But in terms of overall meat consumption, we are not even going in the right direction.

What about the rest of the world?

China, India and other parts of the developing world are behind the soaring demand for meat. Eating meat is a mark of affluence, and as societies in the east grow wealthier they are demanding the same benefits of a diet that the west has enjoyed for more than a century. In China meat consumption has risen from 20kg a head in 1980 to 50kg a head today. As meat consumption rises there is less grain for (human) food, adding to the pressure on grain prices

Food export controls have been imposed by Russia, China, India, Vietnam, Argentina and Serbia in response to the crisis. Last week the Philippines had to hunt for grain supplies after China withheld shipments, prompting the US to step in to guarantee grain supplies. Tensions are growing not only over energy, but now over food.

Are there other reasons for cutting back on meat-eating?

Yes. The largest study of the link between diet and health published by the World Cancer Research Fund last November concluded that animal flesh occupies too big a place in the western diet, contributing to high rates of cancer and heart disease. There are also environmental benefits from cutting down on meat. Each of Britain's 10 million cows produces more greenhouse gases in the form of methane per day than the average 4x4 on a 33-mile drive. Giving up meat could have a comparable impact on climate change to giving up flying.

Finally, there could be animal welfare benefits. The less meat we eat, the more we can afford to pay and farmers selling fewer animals at higher prices should be able to provide them with better conditions.

So what diet should we be aiming for?

One that does not eschew meat altogether if that seems too difficult but that puts more emphasis on the vegetarian elements. In many countries meat is regarded as a relish, with the bulk of the meal coming from carbohydrates corn, rice, pasta or potatoes and vegetables.

We should get used to thinking of meat as a treat it could help to save the world's poor from starvation.

Should we be trying to cut out meat to help save the world's poor from starvation?

Yes...


* Producing meat is less efficient than growing grain it takes 8kg of corn to produce 1kg of beef

* Growing crops to feed animals means there is less land on which to grow crops for humans

* There is a shortage of grain for human consumption, and global food prices have leapt by 57 per cent in a year

No...

* It is not realistic to expect people to switch to a vegan diet of vegetables, pulses, fruit and nuts

* China and India should not be denied the same diet that we have enjoyed as they grow wealthier

* An alternative way of tackling the food crisis would be to reverse the policy of diverting grain to make biofuels


http://www.independent.co.uk/life-s...sis-809566.html
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2   ^
Old Wed, Apr-16-08, 10:31
LessLiz's Avatar
LessLiz LessLiz is offline
Registered Member
Posts: 6,938
 
Plan: who knows
Stats: 337/204/180 Female 67 inches
BF:100% pure
Progress: 85%
Location: Pacific NW
Default

The more editorials I read from the really smart people in this world the dumber I get.
Reply With Quote
  #3   ^
Old Wed, Apr-16-08, 11:59
francisstp's Avatar
francisstp francisstp is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 224
 
Plan: Atkins/PP/IF
Stats: 185/165/150 Male 70''
BF:
Progress: 57%
Location: Ottawa
Default

Anyone even remotely familiar with the concept of supply and demand will quickly see there is no long-term problem here.

Higher prices attract additional suppliers to the market, bringing price and quantity back to equilibrium fairly quickly. Of course, things can go wrong when governments subsidise farmers to grow weeds and let them rot...

As for the environment, what good is a clean planet when all humans inhabiting it are fat and sick because they eat crap all day?
Reply With Quote
  #4   ^
Old Wed, Apr-16-08, 13:07
Zei Zei is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 1,477
 
Plan: Carb reduction in general
Stats: 230/213/180 Female 5 ft 9 in
BF:
Progress: 34%
Location: Texas
Default

The problem as I've heard it isn't about how much food is available or can be produced on the planet so much as it is corrupt government systems and human greed which prevent the food (of which plenty can be made available) to those who need it rather than to the favor of those who want to get or remain rich. That's one of the reasons I've never put any stock in "zero population growth" types of suggested solutions for the world's problems. Less starving people on a planet with less people period but nothing else has changed is still too many starving people. Meanwhile since I can't change the world I'll still just do what I can to help others and keep eating healthy low carb.
Reply With Quote
  #5   ^
Old Thu, Apr-17-08, 10:02
1000times 1000times is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 440
 
Plan: eat less, exercise more
Stats: 229/185/154 Male 66 inches
BF:41%/28%/13%
Progress: 59%
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by francisstp
Anyone even remotely familiar with the concept of supply and demand will quickly see there is no long-term problem here.

"Supply and demand"? Oh, look children, we have an Economist here to enlighten us. Gather round and listen quietly while the Economist explains it all!
Quote:
Originally Posted by francisstp
Higher prices attract additional suppliers to the market, bringing price and quantity back to equilibrium fairly quickly.

Well, strictly speaking, that's true. For example, in Haiti, the higher prices for grains have indeed brought additional quantities of "food" to the market, according to the Associated Press :
In Haitian slang, Francois and Joseph describe their hunger pangs as "eating Clorox" because of the burning sensation in their guts. Flashing a sheepish smile, Joseph said they sometimes resort to a traditional hunger palliative cookies made of dirt, salt and butter.

However, the truth of the matter is that most of the developed world is fed by a system that turns unrenewable resources such as natural gas and crude oil into fertilizer and motor fuels, respectively. What does your economics tell us about the resulting price levels of the demand-driven additional supply when those unrenewable resources are ALSO going up in price?

Quote:
Originally Posted by francisstp
As for the environment, what good is a clean planet when all humans inhabiting it are fat and sick because they eat crap all day?

What good is a clean planet? Let's see:
  • Overfishing of Atlantic salmon has brought "additional supply" in the form of open-net fish farms. Since the people building these farms want to maximize their ROI, they pack the "farms" (actually feedlots) with as many salmon as they can. Diseases and parasites, notably sea lice, spread among the farmed salmon, and are then spread to nearby wild salmon stocks when the "farmed" salmon escape, as they frequently do. This further reduces the wild catch.
  • Diversion of water for irrigation and hydroelectric power, and residential development on the West Coast of the United States have combined with overfishing (to meet the demand for "additional supply"), leading to the complete closure of the Pacific salmon fishery. There will be NO salmon caught off the West Coast this year. None. Zip. Zilch.
  • Gulf Coast wild shrimp have been caught by "raking" the shrimp beds, a destructive practice that leads to decreased yields.
  • Open-cycle shrimp farming (developed to meed the demand for "additional supply" following falling catches in the U.S. -- begin to see a pattern developing, Milton Friedman?) was established near coasts, by clearing mangrove thickets and creating large lagoons, which were then "farmed" using modern intensive methods. The salinity in these lagoons was adjusted (to maximize output) by pumping fresh water from nearby wells, leading to salt water infiltration and destruction of the aquifer. With prolonged use, these intensively-used ponds form a sludge on the bottom. Eventually, the pond has to be abandoned, rendering the land unusable for decades at best.
  • Overgrazing, driven by -- wait for it -- demand for "additional supply", leads to desertification, erosion, replacement of desirable grasses with inedible and toxic weeds, and ultimately reduction of the supply of meat that could have been produced on that land.
  • Broadcast irrigation, needed to produce hay in dry climates like Montana, can cause salination on prairies that were once sea bottom. For example, irrigating an uphill farm can wash subterranean salt downhill and destroy a neighboring farm.
So, who needs a clean planet? Only people who eat.
Reply With Quote
  #6   ^
Old Thu, Apr-17-08, 11:27
Baerdric's Avatar
Baerdric Baerdric is offline
Registered Member
Posts: 2,229
 
Plan: Neocarnivore
Stats: 375/345/250 Male 74 inches
BF:
Progress: 24%
Location: Vermont
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1000times
Oh, look children
This is an excellent way to convice people to your opinion while making friends at the same time.

Quote:
cookies made of dirt, salt and butter.


I know Hatians. I am related to a good number of them. They have been "Dirt Poor" for decades, and it is not about the price of grain, it is about the lack of freedom, education and technology. They eat those cookies because they are ignorant, not because Americans are all mean and stuff...

Quote:
So, who needs a clean planet? Only people who eat.
It is a strawman that some people want a clean planet and other people don't. But what is true is that some people fall for every Catastrophe Hysteria the press dishes out, and other people have become skeptical. Few people want their children to live in a more restrictive world on the off chance that the press's most recent favorite End of the World theory is finally right.

Do you have children?
Reply With Quote
  #7   ^
Old Thu, Apr-17-08, 22:29
francisstp's Avatar
francisstp francisstp is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 224
 
Plan: Atkins/PP/IF
Stats: 185/165/150 Male 70''
BF:
Progress: 57%
Location: Ottawa
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baerdric

It is a strawman that some people want a clean planet and other people don't.


It's actually a false dilemma, but will all these fallacies packed together who can keep track anyway?
Reply With Quote
  #8   ^
Old Wed, Apr-16-08, 13:35
64dodger 64dodger is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 312
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 251/218.2/200 Male 76 inches
BF:
Progress: 64%
Default

Quote:
How does eating meat cause hunger?

Because it is a very inefficient way of producing food. It takes 8kg of grain to produce 1kg of beef, and large tracts of forest have been cleared for grazing land that might have been used to grow crops. Chicken is more efficient to produce it takes 2kg of feed to produce 1kg of meat. To maximise food production it is best to be vegan. According to Simon Fairlie, in his magazine The Land, it would take just 3 million hectares of arable land to meet Britain's food needs, half the current total, if the population were vegan.


What a crock. We could not produce enough food for the world if we did not have meat in our diets.
Reply With Quote
  #9   ^
Old Thu, Apr-17-08, 10:16
1000times 1000times is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 440
 
Plan: eat less, exercise more
Stats: 229/185/154 Male 66 inches
BF:41%/28%/13%
Progress: 59%
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 64dodger
What a crock. We could not produce enough food for the world if we did not have meat in our diets.

What part of "it takes 8kg of corn to produce 1kg of beef" are you having trouble understanding? Is it the part where you subtract 1 from 8, leaving 7?

8 kg of corn produces between 6 and 7 pounds of cow shit in a CAFO, plus 1 kg of meat in the supermarket. Grain fed to cattle REDUCES the amount of food available to humans.
Reply With Quote
  #10   ^
Old Thu, Apr-17-08, 11:03
Baerdric's Avatar
Baerdric Baerdric is offline
Registered Member
Posts: 2,229
 
Plan: Neocarnivore
Stats: 375/345/250 Male 74 inches
BF:
Progress: 24%
Location: Vermont
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1000times
What part of "it takes 8kg of corn to produce 1kg of beef" are you having trouble understanding?
Perhaps the part where that's not quite true.

Cows (the ones I see) eat corn parts that we don't, plus as another poster mentioned, we must also eat corn if we don't eat meat. Why are you leaving those very significant facts out of your equation? It's like trying to do a home budget while ignoring the mortage and the car payments.
Reply With Quote
  #11   ^
Old Thu, Apr-17-08, 13:10
KarenJ's Avatar
KarenJ KarenJ is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 1,564
 
Plan: tasty animals with butter
Stats: 170/115/110 Female 60"
BF:maintaining
Progress: 92%
Location: Northeastern Illinois
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1000times
Grain fed to cattle REDUCES the amount of food available to humans.


I think Pollan's argument in Omnivore's Dilemma was that USDA policy has sought to move the "mountain of corn" by "passing as much of it as possible through the digestive tracks of food animals who can convert it into protein" (-Pollan).
Why go through that wasteful step at all if humans can just eat the corn directly?



Art provided courtesy of my 11 yo.
Reply With Quote
  #12   ^
Old Wed, Apr-16-08, 16:13
Wifezilla's Avatar
Wifezilla Wifezilla is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 4,367
 
Plan: I'm a Barry Girl
Stats: 250/208/190 Female 72
BF:
Progress: 70%
Location: Colorado
Default

Not to mention the fact that cattle doesn't need grain. It can do fine on grass. I have no problem growing grass...especially where I don't want it to grow.
Reply With Quote
  #13   ^
Old Thu, Apr-17-08, 02:49
Rheneas's Avatar
Rheneas Rheneas is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 304
 
Plan: Primal
Stats: 200/129/125 Female 163cm
BF:26
Progress: 95%
Location: Aberdeen
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wifezilla
Not to mention the fact that cattle doesn't need grain. It can do fine on grass. I have no problem growing grass...especially where I don't want it to grow.


Exactly what I was thinking. Grass grows for free practically all year round being replaced withing days each time it is cropped by the cattle who quite happily fertilise it for free. It also grows abundantly in places where grain can't be grown. Cattle can be fed silage over winter harvested through the year and replaced in the field, again for free and quickly. Cows, left to their own devices will also breed, for free, producing more cows, and milk.

Grain is a once a year crop that needs buying, sowing, fertilising, spraying, harvesting, storing, packing and distributing before it gets to the cattle. It also makes the cattle sick and fat and they often have difficulty in breeding therefore needing IVF type intervention. Following on to all this then comes the need of medications, hormones, steroids etc which in turn are eaten by people who then perpetuate the illnesses of grain and are affected by residues of the medications but red meat always gets the blame not the farming practice.

Balancing those two I cannot for the life of me imagine why anyone would either want or need to feed grain to cows. The oddity about it all is that grass fed beef is much more expensive to buy than grain fed yet the grain fed is more expensive to produce. Better by Nature not big industry profits says I.
Reply With Quote
  #14   ^
Old Thu, Apr-17-08, 12:34
1000times 1000times is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 440
 
Plan: eat less, exercise more
Stats: 229/185/154 Male 66 inches
BF:41%/28%/13%
Progress: 59%
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rheneas
...Grass grows for free...

Yes, all you have to do is murder any indigenous inhabitants and take over that free land to grow that free grass, right? Alas, that ship has sailed. These days, grass is grown on land which is usually owned by someone and has value. In other words, as any hippie could tell you, There Ain't No Such Thing As Free Grass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rheneas
It also grows abundantly in places where grain can't be grown. Cattle can be fed silage over winter harvested through the year and replaced in the field, again for free and quickly.

Again with the "free"? Silage can be made from "free" grass, yes -- but it's also made from grains like sorghum, oats, and corn, plus peas. It's harvested (in the developed world) using capital-intensive machines which are powered by ever-more-expensive diesel or gasoline/gasohol and operated by human beings. These human beings want to be paid in money, and can often get more money for less work saying "Do you want fries with that?" than staying on the farm.

Silage is "made from plant material with a suitable moisture content, about 55% to 70%", according to Wikipedia. However, in most of the places famous for producing beef cattle, such as Texas and Montana, cattle are wintered on hay, because there isn't enough moisture to make silage from the grass. In many of those places, there isn't enough rain to grow hay in some years unless the land is irrigated. As noted above, irrigation sometimes leads to salination of pasture or cropland. Irrigation also requires water -- which is decidedly NOT free out west. Cows that are eating hay or grazing on these prairies ALSO require water.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rheneas
Cows, left to their own devices will also breed, for free, producing more cows, and milk.

Most farmers in the developed world don't leave breeding up to the cows, but pay actual money (i.e., not "free") for bull semen from proven bulls. Before artificial insemination became common, farmers would pay (again, not "free") to have a stud bull brought to the pasture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rheneas
Grain is a once a year crop ...

Meaning that the corn grower can turn his harvest over to the maw of the factory farming system and take some time off -- even take a vacation, if he can afford it. Grass-fed beef is a year-round job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rheneas
Balancing those two I cannot for the life of me imagine why anyone would either want or need to feed grain to cows. The oddity about it all is that grass fed beef is much more expensive to buy than grain fed yet the grain fed is more expensive to produce.

No, grain-fed beef is NOT more expensive to produce than grass-fed beef, not as long as fertilizer can be produced from cheap natural gas, and as long as farm kids would rather sell grain-fed beef and HFCS-sweetened soft drinks at McDonalds than raise cows on Old McDonald's farm. The U.S. government pays farmers to raise corn, but eliminating that subsidy wouldn't make grain-fed beef cheaper than grass-fed.
Reply With Quote
  #15   ^
Old Wed, Apr-16-08, 16:20
Nancy LC's Avatar
Nancy LC Nancy LC is offline
Experimenter
Posts: 45,396
 
Plan: Paleo 99.5%
Stats: 210/170/160 Female 67.5"
BF:
Progress: 80%
Location: San Diego, CA
Default

I think it was in Omnivore's Dilemma that some farmer pointed out that nature turns sunlight into a complete protein by having cows eat grass. Lots of places you can't grow grain can sustain lots of grass eating animals.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:54.


Copyright © 2000-2020 Active Low-Carber Forums @ forum.lowcarber.org
Powered by: vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.