Why do people eat so much meat? The numbers will surprise you

There are currently more than 3.5 billion domestic ruminants on Earth and tens of billions of chickens whose meat will appear on our table.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in the last 50 years alone, world production has quadrupled to about 350 million tonnes a year. And the current trend shows no signs of relaxation. Current forecasts say that meat production will reach 455 million tons per year by 2050.

Inefficient power supply?

People have been eating meat since prehistoric times and are consuming more and more over time. Scientists have long expressed concern about the environmental impact of this habit, especially on commercially bred animals. They consider it an “inefficient” food source because it requires more energy, water and land to be produced from other foods. According to many environmentalists, the meat and dairy industry is hurting our planet.

Is meat production harming the planet?

A FAO study found that beef production leads to a sixfold increase in greenhouse gas emissions and requires 36 times more land compared to the production of vegetable protein such as beans or peas.

Cutting down on meat and dairy products is the best way to reduce our environmental impact on the planet, according to researchers. Without the consumption of meat and dairy products, global agricultural land use could be reduced by more than 75%. In addition, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that 60% of global biodiversity loss is due to meat production.

Are we slaves to the habit?

Many of us continue to eat meat no matter what. Benjamin Buttlar, a social psychologist at the University of Trier in Germany, attributes it to habit, culture and perceived needs.

“I think a lot of people just enjoy the taste. In addition, many traditional cuisines are based on certain meat dishes, “Buttlar said. He added that the normal nature of eating animal meat means that we often do not even wonder what we are doing.

“In most cases, our habits prevent us from believing that eating meat is really harmful because we do it all the time,” said the psychologist.

Is meat for real men?

People justify eating meat as an old, natural, normal and necessary part of our diet, more typical of men. This stereotype goes back to the idea of ​​strong men.

Canadian researchers have found that men suffering from masculinity crisis try to gain weight by eating red meat. This happens to people who are worried about how “real men” they are.

What food made us human?

Scientists have long believed that eating meat helped our ancestors develop a more human body shape. And the consumption of meat and bone marrow gave primitive humans the energy needed to form and nourish the large brain about 2 million years ago. But a recent study suggests a different version.

Brianna Pompiner, a paleoanthropologist at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in the United States, says she has long been an advocate of human development due to increased meat consumption. But new discoveries have forced us to rethink our understanding of the history of evolution. “We do not see a significant increase in brain size when meat consumption begins,” says Pobiner.

What role did plant foods play in our evolution?

Now scientists believe that eating meat could not be the reason for the growth of the human brain. There is some evidence that the brains of primitive humans grew after they began cooking food on the fire. Heating the food releases additional nutrients and speeds up the digestion process, making the food softer and easier to chew.

Today, environmentalists and nutritionists believe that if our appetite for meat remains the same, then by 2050, when the world population will reach almost 10 billion people, we may become too many to eat.

Source of information: Sergey KIRIK, 1prof.by

13/05/2022.
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