The food of the third millennium: meat or cereals? PART 2
Unfortunately, the population and even some doctors don’t know about these scientific statements fora. This is how, since 1970, the consumption of poultry meat instead of decreasing, has increased. The explanation for consumer resistance to the dietary recommendations is that the choice of food, guidance is made ONLY by taste, convenience and the habits inherited. Following this path, calories consumption per person, in the United States reached 3,800 kcal / day, this average including young children too. From 1970 to 1997, the daily consumption increased by 500 cal; 3,800 kcal represents almost two times the amount of energy required for most women, not to mention children.
And to understand the interests that are in the game, let’s remember that, in the United States in 1995, only 22% of spending on food have reached the producers pocket; the remaining of 78% went to industry and trade with food processing, packaging, transport and profit.
Since processed products are more profitable than those obtained directly from producers, the food industry brings on the market, every year, a large number of new products. In the United States, only in 1995, 17,000 new food products were put into circulation. Two thirds of them were: sweets, spices, beverages, milk, sweetened cereals, kitchen and pastry products. And to imagine the income, remember that only on food advertisement is spent annually 30 billion dollars. Only for one kind of candy or chocolate the ads cost between 25-50 million dollars.
Studies on different continents show that feeding based on vegetable products is associated with better health and longevity.
The overwhelming evidence supports the idea that the population of industrialized and industrializing countries could reduce the risk of chronic diseases, if the vegetable consumption, cereals and fruit would increase and if would diminish or better, would dismiss the consumption of animal origin food.
Unfortunately, the existing public system has no reasons to favor the consumption of regular products, taken straight from the manufacturer.
If the authorities want the improvement of public health, then they should take steps to stimulate the production of vegetable food origin, instead of importing cigarettes, meat and alcoholic beverages, to fund the construction of greenhouses and possibly to import vegetable products that can not be grown in the country of climatic reasons.
In terms of food requirements, worldwide occur fundamental changes, largely driven by the dimensions of economic growth in developing countries, comprising: Latin America and the Caribbean archipelago, countries located in South of Sahara, Asia, North Africa and the rest of the ‘underdeveloped’countries.
The increasing incomes and rapid urbanization, particularly in Asia, completely changed the demand for food. Direct consumption per person, of corn and cheap cereals or of lower quality it is decreasing as, with the income raise, consumers switch to wheat and rice. When the financial situation improves and, more, the lifestyle changes, with the urbanization occurs the second pass, from rice to wheat products.
The income increasing from developing countries determines a strong meat consumption raising, which requires the cereal grains productions enlargement, especially corn.
In developed countries, to produce a kg of poultry meat needs 2 kg of cereals; 1 kg of pork needs 4 kg cereals; and 1 kg of beef needs 7 kg cereals. You realize that could be fed a large number of people with cereals.
Between 1981 and 1994, in developing countries, 80% of food came from cereals. During this period, cereal consumption per person was of 165.3 kg / year.
We recalled that there is the tend to consume more and more wheat products.
Between 1992 and 1994 the total cereals consumption in the developing countries, wheat represnted 43%; rice, 39%; corn, 12% and other lower quality cereals, 10%.
Meat consumption in the developing countries increases in a vertiginous way. If 30-40 years ago these countries have consumed 29% of the meat used around the world, currently they consumes 45%.
In the coming years, meat consumption in China and India will increase enormously, leading to multiplying cases of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer and degenerative diseases. If meat consumption in 1993 in China was 33 kg per person, in 2020 will be 60 kg; in the developed countries, the annual consumption of meat in 2020 will be 83 kg per person.
Specialists are convinced that the populations food need from the underdeveloped and developing countries could be better satisfied with cereals than meat. However, before all, the question is whether alimentation without meat or very few animal products could meet the needs of protein and amino acids of different age groups.
Certainly that those who still asks these questions did not listen to the broadcast programs about health aired on “Hope Voice”. D. Joe Millward, of the Center for Nutrition within Surrey University, Guilford, UK, discussed this question in an essay that was published in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (1999; 58: 249-260). In the following,