Though the development of grain-based agriculture roughly 12,000 years ago, made it possible for the human population to multiply and for advanced civilizations to develop, it also made possible the development of less nutritious diet, since grains contain fewer nutrients per calorie. As people shifted from hunting and gathering to an agrarian lifestyle, their average height dropped by several inches. Diseases caused by a lack of protein and nutrients also became widespread for the first time.
From there, Lets jump to the Industrial Revolution, which (among other advances) made it possible to mass produce flour and sugar. “This era culminated in the widespread dissemination of ultra-processed products such as fast food throughout the World”.
Processed foods tend to emphasize tasty ingredients like sugar, salt and fat. To decrease transportation costs and extend shelf life, they contain less water, leaving each morsel of food more densely packed with calories. The detrimental health effects of these innovations are obvious.
But we can’t simply abandon food technology– indeed, if the nearly 7 billion people on the planet are to be fed, we must embrace it. However, we should keep in mind that “reducing the burden of obesity-related chronic disease requires a more appropriate use of technology that is guided by public health rather than short-term economic considerations,”
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