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Healthy eating for a sustainable future.. Eat [real] food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Michael Pollan In defence of food.

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Presentation on theme: "Healthy eating for a sustainable future.. Eat [real] food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Michael Pollan In defence of food."— Presentation transcript:

1 Healthy eating for a sustainable future.

2 Eat [real] food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Michael Pollan In defence of food.

3 In brief: A diet that is best for your health is also ….. a diet that is best for the health of our planet.

4 What is wrong with the way we eat?

5 The western diet is both bad for us and bad for the environment.

6 What is wrong with the way we eat? Put simply: There is too much animal protein. There is a dependency on industrial farming. There is too much processed (refined) food. The western diet is not only bad for us, it is also bad for the environment.

7 What is wrong with the way we eat? T he diet that is best for us exactly matches that which is best for the environment. Put simply: There is too much animal protein. There is a dependency on industrial farming. There is too much processed (refined) food. The western diet is not only bad for us, it is also bad for the environment.

8 A reminder that global warming is on the way…

9 Too much protein

10 Isnt a lot of protein really good for us? No! This is advertising hype. This excess is mainly of animal origin. Animal protein production is very environmentally damaging.

11 Too much protein Our protein requirements are quite modest. Isnt a lot of protein really good for us? Excess protein is not stored - broken down - reconstituted as fat. Protein requirements for growing children and super athletes are only marginally increased. Most need about 0.75g/kg/day – 60g per adult male.

12 Too much protein Plants are good sources of protein. Our protein requirements are quite modest. Isnt a lot of protein really good for us? Animal products are not the sole source. Lentils, pulses, grains and nuts are excellent sources, some exceeding animal meat. Red kidney beans 23.6% protein; chuck steak 19.5%

13 Too much protein Animal protein composition is not superior to plant protein. Plants are good sources of protein. Our protein requirements are quite modest. Isnt a lot of protein really good for us? Vegetable protein has all the amino acids that are required for human health.

14 Too much protein Animal protein composition is not superior to plant protein. Plants are good sources of protein. Our protein requirements are quite modest. Isnt a lot of protein really good for us? Fruit and vegetables contain lots of K. Increasing dietary potassium is probably more important than lowering sodium in blood pressure control.

15 The Australian food chart - MHMRC: The recommendations from the CSIRO total wellbeing diet book are very different from this. A look a the list of sponsors will give you a clue. The truth is that we dont need all that animal based food. It is good for business but not for us!

16 Further thoughts on animal protein consumption:

17 Medical problems associated with red meat. Meats, particularly red meat, even lean red meat, has lots of saturated fat, a major factor in heart disease. Red meat and processed meat is associated with a higher rate of some cancers, particularly bowel cancer.

18 Further thoughts on animal protein consumption: Dairy products are not health foods. Medical problems associated with red meat. Many dairy products have high levels of saturated fats. Calcium from dairy products does not necessarily promote good bone health. American Academy of Pediatrics (2005), states "Scant evidence supports nutrition guidelines focused specifically on increasing milk or other dairy product intake for promoting child and adolescent bone mineralization Most countries with high dairy intake have high levels of osteoporosis. The major problem is low vitamin D levels.

19 Comparative Vitamin D levels

20 Further thoughts on animal protein consumption: Meat is not essential for brain development Dairy products are not health foods. Medical problems associated with red meat. The theory that early man required a meat filled diet to allow the evolution of large brains is deeply flawed. We really dont know what early man ate. Evidence of vegetable or insect foods consumption is not preserved. The development of cooking was probably much more important.

21 Further thoughts on animal protein consumption: Eating less animal based food is good for your health. Meat is not essential for brain development Dairy products are not health foods. Medical problems associated with red meat. Controlled studies of vegetarians show better health, particularly heart disease. However, most vegetarian dont eat a lot of processed carbohydrate.

22 The livestock industry as it is currently run is an ecological disaster Generating animal protein is a highly inefficient It requires 5 to 10 feed calories for one food calorie output.

23 The livestock industry as it is currently run is an ecological disaster Generating animal protein is a highly inefficient Forest destruction occurs on a massive scale. Vast areas of forest have been destroyed for cattle pasture, particularly in the Amazon.

24 The livestock industry as it is currently run is an ecological disaster Generating animal protein is a highly inefficient Forest destruction occurs on a massive scale. This includes soil erosion, contamination with chemicals and loss of biodiversity. It is a major cause of land degradation.

25 The livestock industry as it is currently run is an ecological disaster Generating animal protein is a highly inefficient Forest destruction occurs on a massive scale. Contamination by chemicals and eutrophication. Ruminants are a major source of methane. It is a major cause of land degradation. It causes large scale pollution.

26 The livestock industry as it is currently run is an ecological disaster Generating animal protein is a highly inefficient Forest destruction occurs on a massive scale. Harmful bacteria arise from intensive animal production from antibiotic - antiseptic use & feeding practices – MRSA, VRE, E coli O157/H7 Pandemic viruses from pigs (H1N1) poultry (H5N1) It is a major cause of land degradation. It causes large scale pollution. Intensive livestock production promotes superbugs.

27 Environmental damage of industrial agriculture Algal red tides

28 Environmental damage of industrial agriculture Jellyfish swarms are increasing rapidly. Jellyfish have little nutritional value. They reduce fish catches. The causes: -excessive nutrients -loss of predators from industrial scale fishing. This is a photograph, not a drawing.

29 The Green Revolution The green revolution = fossil fuel revolution

30 The Green Revolution The green revolution = fossil fuel revolution The green revolution (industrial farming) only partly depends on better crop varieties.

31 The Green Revolution The green revolution = fossil fuel revolution The green revolution (industrial farming) only partly depends on better crop varieties. Without fossil fuel powered machinery, fossil fuel based fertilizers, herbicides/insecticides and fossil fuel powered irrigation, yields from industrial agriculture would plummet.

32 The Green Revolution The green revolution = fossil fuel revolution The green revolution (industrial farming) only partly depends on better crop varieties. Without fossil fuel powered machinery, fossil fuel based fertilizers, herbicides/insecticides and fossil fuel powered irrigation, yields from industrial agriculture would plummet. For every calorie of food produced using industrial agricultural techniques on average about 10 calories of (fossil fuel) energy are required.

33 Animal based foods are powered by fossil fuel! The energy to produce 1kg of beef is equivalent to driving a medium car for 160km. Animal based foods compared to foods from plants require a lot of fossil fuel.

34 Threats associated with industrial agriculture Peak oil Peak oil is real. We will require fossil fuel to power our organic farming; we should not be wasting it on non- essential activities. We should move away from fossil fuel dependent fertilizers and herbicides/pesticides.

35 Threats associated with industrial agriculture Peak water Peak oil Industrial agriculture is very thirsty. Many areas are consuming non-renewable fossil water - India, northern China, S-W USA Huge areas of the Indian subcontinent and China/ western South America are dependent on glacial melt.

36 Threats associated with industrial agriculture Peak water Peak oil Loss of biodiversity Plant disease epidemics (Ug99 of wheat, Panama disease Race 4 of Cavendish bananas, mosaic disease of Cassava). Loss of farms and farmers, accelerating the loss of crop diversity. Monocultures

37 Processed (industrial) food. The hand maiden of industrial agriculture…

38 Processed (industrial) food. The hand maiden of industrial agriculture… real food is broken down into its basic components and then reassembled into food like substances…..

39 Processed (industrial) food. The hand maiden of industrial agriculture… real food is broken down into its basic components and then reassembled into food like substances….. then filled with artificial flavourings and colourings, with boosted fats, sugars and salt to promote addiction to these products..

40 Processed (industrial) food. The hand maiden of industrial agriculture… real food is broken down into its basic components and then reassembled into food like substances….. then filled with artificial flavourings and colourings, with boosted fats, sugars and salt to promote addiction to these products.. and finally fortified with various vitamins and additives in a flawed attempt to make them as nutritious as natural foods.

41 Why is processed food so common? There is big money to be made and is readily integrated with industrial farming systems.

42 Why is processed food so common? There is big money to be made and is readily integrated with industrial farming systems. Processed food dramatically reduces the number of basic ingredients, which are then produced on a massive scale directly reducing raw material cost and in turn increasing profits.

43 What is the problem with processed food? Loss of variety of food types Processed food = Industrial agriculture = Progressive loss of varieties of food types and animals

44 What is the problem with processed food? Increased fat and salt Loss of variety of food types Saturated fat is still a major risk factor in cardiac disease, and its incidence has not really decreased. (Mortality has fallen with better medical care.) Trans fats in the replacement vegetable oils are even worse than saturated fats. Excess salt is still an important factor in hypertension.

45 What is the problem with processed food? Increased fat and salt Loss of variety of food types Large intakes of refined carbohydrates Associated with the metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes Replacing saturated fat with refined carbohydrates has been an disaster. Lazy vegetarians - replace meat with refined carbohydrates – probably a very bad move.

46 What is the problem with processed food? Increased fat and salt Loss of variety of food types Large intakes of refined carbohydrates Addiction to these foods The addition of lots of saturated fat, salt and sugar causes food addiction and obesity. Sweetness increases appetite, making artificial sweeteners counterproductive.

47 What is the problem with processed food? Increased fat and salt Loss of variety of food types Large intakes of refined carbohydrates Addiction to these foods Excessive packaging Think of soft drinks. Oceans of plastic waste contaminating of food chain.

48 What is the problem with processed food? Increased fat and salt Loss of variety of food types Large intakes of refined carbohydrates Addiction to these foods Overall food consumption goes up further adding to our carbon foot print. Excessive packaging

49 Many a true word said in jest…..

50 So what should we do?

51 Eat a diet that contains mostly plant based foods.

52 So what should we do? Eat a diet that contains predominantly plant based foods. Use animal based foods as condiments. If you do want meat, eat chicken rather than red meats. Use diary foods sparingly.

53 So what should we do? Eat a diet that contains predominantly plant based foods. Use animal based foods as condiments. Avoid processed foods which can be easily identified by the number of ingredients, health claims, excessive packaging.

54 So what should we do? Eat a diet that contains predominantly plant based foods. Use animal based foods as condiments. Avoid processed foods which are easily identified by the number of ingredients, health claims, excessive packaging. Dont waste food - In Australia, $5.6 billion/year is thrown away. I t is OK to eat left overs but store them carefully. Use a shopping list. Eat at home.

55 So what should we do? Eat a diet that contains predominantly plant based foods. Use animal based foods as condiments. Avoid processed foods which are easily identified by the number of ingredients, health claims, excessive packaging. Dont waste food - In Australia, $5.6 billion/year is thrown away. Eat out less, have fewer take-aways.

56 So what should we do? Eat a diet that contains predominantly plant based foods. Use animal based foods as condiments. Avoid processed foods which are easily identified by the number of ingredients, health claims, excessive packaging. Dont waste food - In Australia, $5.6 billion/year is thrown away. Eat out less, have fewer take-aways. Spread the word - act to save the world.

57 The final word…..

58 All the information in this lecture can be viewed in greater detail on my web site It is a fully referenced scientifically based analysis. Ask not only what your food does for you, but also what your food does to the world.


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