Anti-Sugar Elitism

Health, Fitness, Insurance, ...
Post Reply
7Wannabe5
Posts: 6117
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am
Location: Clinton River Watershed

Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I've lately been amusing myself with an attempt to create some very basic systems models involving energy flows. For instance, I am constructing a model that divides my land use between photo-voltaic cells and food crops. A new piece of information I happened upon is that sugar cane converts solar energy into stored carbohydrate 16X more efficiently than some next best options such as potatoes or corn. So, it occurred to me that it might be the case that the current world population of humans would not be able to be fed with the current level of acreage devoted to agriculture without a relatively high level of sugar calories in the average diet. Therefore, there will be a growing divide between the low protein/high carbohydrate/low acreage diet of the masses and the high protein/high acreage diet of the moneyed elite who are able to afford beef or tofu. IOW, it might be possible that what most members of this forum would consider to be some form of healthiest diet can't currently be afforded for most citizens of the planet unless a good deal more acreage is devoted to thoughtfully considered food production. IOW, "Let them eat cake." might have been prescient, especially if you consider that acreage that might become devoted to crops is likely to be acreage that is currently devoted to some form of wilderness.

vexed87
Posts: 1492
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:02 am
Location: Yorkshire, UK

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by vexed87 »

7Wannabe5 wrote:Therefore, there will be a growing divide between the low protein/high carbohydrate/low acreage diet of the masses and the high protein/high acreage diet of the moneyed elite who are able to afford beef or tofu. IOW, it might be possible that what most members of this forum would consider to be some form of healthiest diet can't currently be afforded for most citizens of the planet unless a good deal more acreage is devoted to thoughtfully considered food production. IOW, "Let them eat cake."
Animal protein is high acerage, certainly! Plant based proteins not so much. Conventional nutritional wisdom overstates the amount of protein required to maintain good health and it certainly doesn't have to come from animals, I'm sure most of the ERE community agree? The regional equivalents of rice and beans will do for most of the worlds population, they already are doing so! However, thinking beyond conventional industrial agriculture food systems and more in line with homesteading/permaculture principles, animal protein still has it's place in extracting nutrients from 'waste' or other unpalatable plants/animals which will/cannot be consumed by humans, or from land not suitable for human suitable crops and this can be achieved at relatively little cost if the right systems are in place, so animal protein does not have to remain a status symbol as fossil fuel energy dwindles. That said, not many will be eating beef regularly unless they have access to enough land for pasture.

Chad
Posts: 3848
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by Chad »

Some other points:
- It's difficult to find a complete plant protein.
- Meat has some specific nutrients outside of protein that are very difficult to get from plants.
- Sugar is just calories and doesn't have any real nutrition. Great for getting fat for winter or when doing tons of outside work. This is one of the reasons why MREs are so high in calories.
- Leads to a bunch of lifestyle diseases.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 6117
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am
Location: Clinton River Watershed

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@vexed87

Plants that produce human food that is high in protein, such as beans, are generally rather carnivorous themselves. They exude sugars from their roots which attract very small animals that live in the soil, then they extract the nitrogen from the bodies of the very small animals. So, if you are a thoughtful permaculture gardener of soybeans who is concerned with soil conservation then what you are really doing is raising/maintaining some healthy diverse flocks of tiny animals that live underground with which to feed your soybeans with which you will feed yourself. If you are a conventional soybean farmer, you will be feeding your soybeans with nitrogen fertilizer produced through a process that uses petroleum, which was obviously formed from smushed bodies of ancient life-forms. So, if you are made out of meat, you really can't remove yourself from the meat cycle. However, it seems to me that peeing on your permaculture bean crop which is growing within short-walking distance might be about the best you can do, maybe depending on whether or not you can bring yourself to kill a rabbit.

Anyways, it follows that when you till and amend the same patch of soil, this is basically the same process as when nomadic humans used to cut the skin and drink the blood of living animals they domesticated. It tends towards weakening the system and increasing the likelihood of pathogen growth. That's why the practice came to be outlawed by many religions, and remains a powerful myth in the form of Dracula etc. Also related to the likelihood of the current water shortage in California being correlated with future increase in deaths due to malaria.

vexed87
Posts: 1492
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:02 am
Location: Yorkshire, UK

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by vexed87 »

Chad wrote:Meat has some specific nutrients outside of protein that are very difficult to get from plants.
Namely B12, but I understand that B12 is mostly manufactured by bacteria in soil and is then simply and conveniently concentrated diligently by animals within their own muscles. Now we so carefully and obsessively wash our produce for fear of consuming "dirt" but more recently pesticides, we "need" to obtain it from meat! :roll:

I suspect the problem is that homo sapiens, the amazing generalist adaptive species that we are, have migrated outside our jungle of origin and have mostly abandoned the ecology we are adapted to... perhaps all these nutrients were widely available in plant form in that time and place... now we have no choice but to consume the animal meat to survive, that or supplements. I'm not saying that we are not adapted to consume meat, clearly we are, but just not a regularly as some people do.

Remember to get our calorie requirements from leafy greens only we must generally consume large quantities, so the apparent shortage of nutrients in plants may well be moot. No doubt, with large quantities required, diversity will be sought out naturally, unless of course one is happy to eat nothing but lentils :roll:

P.s. Not attempting to derail this topic, its fascinating! :)
Last edited by vexed87 on Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

Riggerjack
Posts: 2906
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:09 am

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by Riggerjack »

7wb5, I enjoy your posts, simply as a spectator. You seem to put too much thought into combining other's processed data, and extrapolating results.

By this, I mean you will take a bit from this source, and a bit from that, and a factoid from a third, stir, heat to a hard ball, and pull like taffy.

The results are always entertaining, but I wonder if you might benefit from more raw data.

I recommend you spend a few hours on Google maps, in satellite mode. Look at the margins of cropland. Look in the states, and look at various other areas of the world. Look at the patterns of land use.

What you see may surprise you. It did me.

vexed87
Posts: 1492
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:02 am
Location: Yorkshire, UK

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by vexed87 »

INTP... cough ;)

vexed87
Posts: 1492
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:02 am
Location: Yorkshire, UK

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by vexed87 »

Riggerjack wrote:What you see may surprise you. It did me.
Ohh ohh, let me guess, all by running fresh water/flood plains? (mostly!)

ThisDinosaur
Posts: 997
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:31 am

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by ThisDinosaur »

7W5 , you once advised me to eat worms for low land-use protein. If you're feeding them with waste scraps, your footprint may be negative.

Also , nitrogen fixing plants like soybeans get their nitrogen from Rhizobium bacteria in the soil, which obtain it directly from the atmosphere. It's not just from dead bugs and worms.

Chad
Posts: 3848
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by Chad »

vexed87 wrote:
Chad wrote:Meat has some specific nutrients outside of protein that are very difficult to get from plants.
Namely B12, but I understand that B12 is mostly manufactured by bacteria in soil and is then simply and conveniently concentrated diligently by animals within their own muscles. Now we so carefully and obsessively wash our produce for fear of consuming "dirt", we "need" to obtain it from meat! :roll:
Kind of. The bacteria really live in animal stomachs and find their way into dirt through the animals waste product. It would take a lot more dirt than a dusting on a few vegetables to get your B12. Also, not a lot of vegetables are grown with animal manure now and I really don't want it on my vegetables, so I'm washing them.

vexed87
Posts: 1492
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:02 am
Location: Yorkshire, UK

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by vexed87 »

@Chad, it's probably a chicken and the egg scenario, because where did the bacteria come from in the first place? If the animals couldn't live without the cobalt in the b12 it had to come from the... ;)

@ThisDinosaur, quite right, ultimately, most of the nutrients in any area that supports life now came from barren rock and minerals way before the soil and plant life established itself, it's just recycled and extracted in continues cycles or moved around by animal activity, geological and meteorological processes.

Chad
Posts: 3848
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by Chad »

vexed87 wrote:@Chad, it's probably a chicken and the egg scenario, because where did the bacteria come from in the first place? If the animals couldn't live without the cobalt in the b12 it had to come from the... ;)
The origins aren't really pertinent. All that matters is how we can currently get it, which is meat.

The bacteria is in the soil, but not in large quantities in top soil because the bacteria that produce B12 are anaerobic. It is in deep soil because there is low oxygen content down there. Most of the bacteria that produces B12 in top soil is coming from animal waste. Though, I'm unsure how long it lives after that due to the higher oxygen content. So, while it is possible it originated in the deep soil, it is really only available in decent quantities from animals.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 6117
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am
Location: Clinton River Watershed

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@Chad,vexed87, ThisDinosaur: I should note for the record that it is my belief that humans are "naturally" omnivorous scavengers. I am considering bacteria to be a tiny animal (animus)because it moves itself through its environment, but it is true that it gets nitrogen from the air because it is the most primitive meat. Most recent research indicating that chimpanzee bands that inhabit the sort of savannah/forest-jungle realm where humans likely evolved are more likely to eat a higher proportion of meat than the 3% suggested in the article below, but also that hunter/gatherer human bands generally grew more starchy crops than previously estimated. Obviously, I am using the Potawatomi band as my reference because they inhabited the realm where I am currently conducting my permaculture project.



https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/gu ... himpanzee/

http://www.usd116.org/mfoley/pot/food.html

@RiggerJack: I would note that I did make use of the verb "amuse" in the first sentence of my first post on this thread ;) I am not sure what you wanted me to see on google maps? I have lived in wilderness, farming, suburban and urban areas of Michigan, so I am not completely clueless about land use patterns. For instance, I know that the table sugar I use is derived from sterile hybrid variety sugar beets which are grown on very large farms that make use of leased advanced robotic equipment and are located around 100 miles from me. The beets are processed into table sugar by a collective formed by these farmers. Using this technology, one human can farm approximately 200 acres of sugar beets. Modern irrigation methods are used on crops in Michigan, but due to generally steady moderate rainfall throughout the year, they are not as strictly necessary as in regions such as California.
Chad said: So, while it is possible it originated in the deep soil, it is really only available in decent quantities from animals.
This is kind of like saying that petroleum is really only available in decent quantities from gas pumps. OTOH, I have some doubts about the energy-use efficiency of using a high-powered blender to whir chard into a form that can be quickly swallowed by a human, as though the blender can function as a make-shift version of a cow's rumen, reticulum and omasum. I am burping for hours every time I let my BF make me one of his horrible green smoothie concoctions.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12429
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by jacob »

7Wannabe5 wrote:A new piece of information I happened upon is that sugar cane converts solar energy into stored carbohydrate 16X more efficiently than some next best options such as potatoes or corn.
This is why sugarcane works for ethanol/biofuel production but not corn. That's good for Brazil (who can run a biofuel program and have the EROEI math work out) and some of the southernmost US states, but sugarcane doesn't grow well at high latitudes.

brighteye
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:02 am
Location: Switzerland

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by brighteye »

You not only get meat from animals, but a good portion of fat as well, people often seem to think animal=protein.

vexed87
Posts: 1492
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:02 am
Location: Yorkshire, UK

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by vexed87 »

Modern humans may well have backed themselves into a corner of dependency of on animal meats because of the custom of washing and peeling of root vegetables. Think about all the discarded organic material, there goes your B12! There is little occurrence of B12 deficiency in developing nations where diets haven't been modernised and very little meat is consumed. Most strict vegans who don't eat junk processed food also rarely develop deficiencies in B12, at least where consideration has gone into planning of diets.

Eating animal blood, guts, tendons and mucus is preferable in some cultures to eating decayed animal feces, I get that, but as far as dependency on massive demand for acreage to feed animals goes, combined with rising population and falling energy supplies, ERE folk may need to find any alternative source of B12 unless they want to see a steep rise in food costs as the years go by ;)

I know I'll take slightly soily root vegetables and early retirement any day, YMMV! Manure, if well rotted/composted, manure, animal or human poses little health risk to humans.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12429
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by jacob »

The body has something like a 5 year stock supply of B12. It's not something one needs daily.

Some vegans spray it directly into the mouth.

ThisDinosaur
Posts: 997
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:31 am

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by ThisDinosaur »

7, what else, besides sugar, are you growing in your permaculture project? How much land do you have and how many people are you planning to support? (I think you had said just yourself +/- one maybe grandkid.)

I've been reading about the Grow Biointensive method, but I'd prefer a higher protein per calorie diet than their implied one. They don't think much of soybeans, which have the highest protein per acre of any food except hemp.

IlliniDave
Posts: 2959
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:46 pm

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by IlliniDave »

I can say with a fair bit of certainty that for my body the old adage that "a calorie is a calorie" does not apply. I'll rank my sweet tooth up there with anyone's, but the truth is that how much of what hormones get activated due to what I eat matters. Of course a more sugar laden diet than I already have would shorten my lifespan which would serve to mitigate a potential overpopulation problem. I think using sugar cane's energy efficiency to make electricity to electrify fences to keep the beef cattle from getting away would be a happy compromise :)

User avatar
Ego
Posts: 4809
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 am

Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by Ego »

The op is nothing more than a magnificent rationalization for self-harm. The more intelligent the human, the better we are at concocting excuses to justify the satisfaction of immediate desires, which may explain the fact that intelligence and rationality are not correlated.

Post Reply