Ideas for Surviving Food Shortages
In recent years the growth rates of world agricultural production and crop yields have slowed. This has raised fears that the world may not be able to grow enough food and other commodities to ensure that future populations are adequately fed. However, the slowdown has occurred not because of shortages of land or water but rather because demand for agricultural products has also slowed. This is mainly because world population growth rates have been declining since the late 1960s, and fairly high levels of food consumption per person are now being reached in many countries, beyond which further rises will be limited. It also true that a high share of the world's population remains in poverty and hence lacks the necessary income to translate its needs into effective demand. As a result, the growth in world demand for agricultural products is expected to fall from an average 2.2 per year over the past 30 years to an average 1.5 per year for the next 30 years. In developing countries the...
Starvation has been inflicted on many people, including people in developing countries suffering through famines, poverty-stricken people at the end of the month when they have no money for food, and victims of World War II concentration camps. Starvation is also common among exercisers who are intent on losing weight.
Other useful preventive measures include the availability of plentiful clean water and improved sanitation and housing. The early and adequate management of diarrhoea and respiratory infections using oral rehydration solution and antibiotics, respectively, has already proved useful and found applicability worldwide. The early detection of growth faltering, using simple weight and height charts, together with subsequent dietary advice, will reduce the prevalence and severity of malnutrition and its adverse consequences. Lastly, targeted subsidies during times of acute need, such as in famines and wars, and massive campaigns to eliminate specific nutrient deficiencies, such as those of vitamin A, iron and iodine, are justified.
In fact gardens and their produce, far from being small matters best left to antiquarians, are essential to any assessment of the quantity and quality of medieval diets. In considering quantity, in a period of food shortages and potential malnutrition, we must enquire about the contribution that horticulture made to the total volume of food production. Quality can be measured partly in the sense of nutritional value, given the current understanding that fresh fruit and vegetables are an essential component of a healthy diet. The quality of a diet can also be judged in terms of medieval ideas about balanced eating as defined in the theory of humours, and the pleasure and satisfaction that were derived from consuming garden produce. The contribution that vegetables and fruit made to diet cannot be separated from the cultural importance of gardens, which figure prominently in medieval literature, and for which there is archaeological evidence.
In plants such as beets, turnips, radish, dandelion, and cassava, roots store large amounts of starch. Sugar produced in leaves during photosynthesis moves throughout the plant via the phloem and is transformed into starch in the roots. Roots of other plants store carbohydrates as sugars for example, the roots of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) contain 15 to 20 sucrose. Roots also can store large amounts of water the taproots of some desert plants store more than 70 kilograms of water. In the desert of South Africa, a plant called Hottentot bread (Dioscorea elephantipes) is named after the people of the region who use the huge (350 kilograms over 770 pounds) underground root as a source of starch during famines. This member of the yam family, however, also stores water for its own use during long periods between rainfalls.
If the human body could list its top-10 most efficient processes, adaptation would probably rank number one. Evolution over millions of years has turned the species into a form that's geared not for the production of a slim waist or muscular amis, but for survival. In ages past, periods of famine were common. Yet the human race prevailed. The catch, unfortunately, is that those who have a considerable propensity to store fat survived. Thus, the 20th-century human is someone who has adapted to years of food shortages through a nauseating ability to maintain a pear-shaped torso. So much for survival of the fittest.
Over many years, fat has become a principal component of people's diets. In the past, humans developed methods of conserving fat to survive possible famines. Although people have increased their consumption of fat, they still have metabolisms that conserve fat whenever possible. Diets high in fat are valued in developing countries and have replaced local diets that have been in place for centuries.
Food shortages are often an immediate health consequence of disasters. Existing food stocks may be destroyed or disruptions to distribution systems may prevent the delivery of food. In these situations, food relief programs should include the following elements (1) assessment of food supplies available after the disaster, (2) determination of the nutritional needs of victims, (3) calculation of daily food needs, and (4) surveillance of victims' nutritional famine extended period of food shortage
Internationally, there has been an Americanization of diets through the growth and use of fast-food restaurants and convenience foods. In developing countries there is still a need for some basic foods, and governments and the food industry are working to develop products that can reduce international food shortages and nutrient deficiency problems.
Milk, cheese, meat, cereals, and some vegetables formed the main part of the Irish diet before the potato was introduced to Ireland in the seventeenth century. The Irish were the first Europeans to use the potato as a staple food. The potato, more than anything else, contributed to the population growth on the island, which had less than 1 million inhabitants in the 1590s but had 8.2 million in 1840. However, the dependency on the potato eventually led to two major famines and a series of smaller famines.
Extrusion can produce safe, lightweight, shelf-stable foods that can be stored for use during famines and natural disasters. Simple single screw extruders are fairly inexpensive and simple to maintain so these machines can be used in less-developed nations to produce weaning and other foods. Harper and Jansen (1985) have reviewed advantages and limitations of extrusion for weaning foods. Friction from the rotation of the screw can cook the food thoroughly, reducing production costs for fuel sources. Extruders can blend diverse ingredients, permitting government and relief agencies to use donated foods such as dried milk as well as indigenous crops such as beans, millet, and cassava. Extruded pellets can be ground, then mixed with milk or water as needed to form gruel for infants.
The complexity of inheritance and interaction with the environment makes identification of genes involved with type 2 diabetes difficult. Only a small percentage (2-5 ) of diabetes cases can be explained by single gene defects and are usually atypical cases. However, a thrifty gene, although not yet identified, is considered predictive of weight gain and the development of type 2 diabetes. Thrifty-gene theory suggests that indigenous people who experienced alternating periods of feast and famine gradually developed a way to store fat more efficiently during periods of plenty to better survive famines. Regardless of the thrifty gene, the contribution of genetic mutations in the development of type 2 diabetes has not been established, due to the number of genes that may be involved. famine extended period of food shortage
Have begun to affect Asians in a new and different way. Further, as weather patterns change over time and natural disasters occur, Asia, a largely agricultural society, is not always guaranteed a good crop. Asian food and nutrition is deeply rooted in the availability of food in each country. International organizations such as the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and Oxfam International continue to work on programs that ensure that continents like Asia will not suffer food shortages in the future. see also Asian Americans, Diets of Dietary Trends, International.
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