FreeWord – The World’s Growing Nutritional Needs
Hi folks! Today I’m going to try and enlighten you about the world’s growing nutritional needs. I’m not writing this article from the perspective of a nutritionist, instead, it’s from the perspective of a concerned citizen on this planet. In addition to the growing amount of population, the two other major reasons for causing this global issue are food loss/waste and obesity. This article will mainly focus on these two unfortunate issues aforementioned. The way we eat and discard threatens both our health and the long-term survival of our planet. It’s well known that the current food system dangerously overproduces greenhouse gasses, misuses fertilizers, causes large-scale food wastage and massive land degradation.
The way we eat and discard threatens both our health and the long-term survival of our planet.
Fat, this word that seems to be almost illegal to use in our society. Instead we are admiring this XL or plus size fashion or what the heck it is, but it’s like shouting out loud, “I’m destroying my health, the planet and I’m sincerely proud of it.” We cannot ignore the fact that obesity is one of the leading causes of deadly diseases and the most important of all, it’s burdening our planet. The cold hard truth is that we are eating our planet to the brink of destruction, we just plain and simply eat way too much. In fact, there are so many overweight and obese people that some public health officials now call it an epidemic. The numbers speak for themselves, as over the past 40 years, the number of people living with obesity has almost tripled. Today, more than 650 million adults worldwide are obese.
Fast food chains like McDonald’s and KFC are not exactly making this issue any better. Check out the link below.
This ruthless advertising in low-income countries where citizens are not familiar with the nutritional values and certainly not the methods of how this product is produced, should be prohibited by law. Not to mention fast food chains are spending a fortune to pull in customers from an early age, and it’s working. We are already putting the next generation at risk from birth. The best thing for our planet would be to get rid of this global fast food madness. Unfortunately, it’s a very unlikely scenario to happen in this money-centered world we live in. Fast-food chains should at least take some responsibility for the nutritional values of their meals, their methods of producing the food, and through it their carbon footprint.
However, getting our obesity and overweight epidemic under control will be a bigger project than just telling everyone to go on a diet. Numerous studies suggest that eating behaviors may be more responsive to price increases than to nutritional education. A ‘fat tax’ is a specific tax placed on foods which are considered to be unhealthy and contribute towards obesity. To implement a fat tax, it is necessary to specify which food and beverage products will be targeted. Nonetheless, implementing a fat tax is challenging, and the main problem is which foods to list? Many foods contribute to obesity and if it’s consumed in sufficient quantities, e.g. cheese has a high-fat content. Another thing is the sugar tax, which is often referred to as the soda tax and is designed to reduce consumption of drinks with added sugar. At the national level, several countries already have sugar taxes on soft drinks, which I don’t think have achieved major results, partly because the taxing is not aggressive enough.
Food Loss and Waste (FLW)
Food loss/waste has become a highly visible global issue and it refers to food that is in good enough condition to be consumed but has been discarded by choice or because it has been left to spoil. Roughly one-third, 1.3 billion tonnes, of the food produced for human consumption every year, gets lost or wasted. Food and Agriculture Organization (source) estimates that we produce enough food waste to feed as many as 2 billion people every year. Meanwhile, about 815 million people do not have enough food to live a normal life, and nearly 25 percent of people in developing countries are undernourished according to the World Food Program. Typically in medium- and high-income countries, food waste occurs at the consumer level, such as in schools, restaurants, and homes. In low-income countries, most of the food loss happens due to limited harvesting capabilities, poor storage, or deficiencies in transportation, processing, or infrastructure.
Check out the link below. It’s definitely worth watching.
For consumers, blockchain technology can make a difference since it makes the supply chain more transparent. Records are kept permanently, and it also empowers the entire chain to be more responsive to any food safety disasters. Blockchain records are tamperproof so mistakes can be tracked to individual culprits and this prevents fraud. Considering recent food-fraud scandals, this feature is not trivial. In addition, it enables faster payments, and it facilitates data-sharing between disparate actors in a food value chain. I personally trust the blockchain to be one of the solutions to prevent food loss and there are already existing companies like IBM Research, who are currently working on the implementation. Another company worth mentioning is OSA DC, whose plan, in addition to reducing waste in retail, is to reduce the waistlines of the obese with a digital diet assistant (DDA) – a smartphone app that the company is developing to help consumers make smarter and healthier choices when they buy groceries.
In a world of 7 billion people and limited resources, wasting food or overeating makes no sense economically, environmentally or ethically. We need to favor local, fresh, purely produced ingredients, and choose a product with the smallest possible ecological footprint. In addition, the fat and sugar tax should be made a global issue. With the help of existing and future blockchain solutions, let’s make a change towards a better, thinner, and waste-free planet by making healthier choices for yourself, and the environment. This requires an integrated approach that includes the whole society to take part.
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