(NaturalNews) It isn't often that people are willing to take dietary advice from someone whose field of specialty isn't found in the health sciences. However, recently, some scientists have been growing more vocal about dietary recommendation that have less to do with personal health, and more to do with the planet's struggle to meet the needs of all of its passengers.
The coming challenge
In June 2012, the University of Exeter released a study in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, that concluded that if the current food consumption patterns continue, the planet's food supply will be unable to meet the food needs of the 9.3 billion people who are expected to be living in 2050.
The researchers estimated that if the amount of meat consumed in the Standard American Diet (SAD) was reduced by about half, the projected food shortages would be largely neutralized.
Sharing the calorie wealth
While it is true that meat is a more calorie dense food source, meeting caloric needs is essentially a non-issue. The obesity rates in developed nations attests to this fact. However, for the nearly one billion people in developing nations to whom starvation and hunger are very real threats, the issue is one of resource disparity, rather than the planet's incapacity to sustain the population numbers. If the world's meat resources were converted to grain, the needs of the whole population would more easily be met.
Meat, when consumed, often easily exceeds calorie needs because meat is such a high calorie food. Higher calorie consumption is associated with an increase in risk for cancers and heart, liver and kidney disease. The consumption of animal products is likewise associated with an increase in many pathologies.
High meat, low efficiency
The production of beef is an extremely energy wasteful process. It takes roughly sixteen pound of grain to produce one pound of beef. The land requirements for generating animal products are also higher than for plants, meaning that the amount of food that can be produced from the same piece of land is again exponentially in favor of crop production.
The environmental costs are also stacking up against meat consumption. As much as 96 percent of grain fed to cattle is converted into manure rather than meat. While research continues to investigate the recapturing of these wasted biofuels, their impact currently represents a challenge to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. The size of the meat industry and the numbers of cattle worldwide - accounting for just under 80 percent of all agriculture - make choosing meat not just a poor health choice, but one of the main contributors to climate shift.
About the author: Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general.