Dr Jacqueline Rewarth is an Assistant Professor at the University of Lincoln, PhD in Soil Science (nutrient cycling) and Director of Ravensdown, DairyNZ and Deer Industry NZ.
Opinion: Those of us of a certain age remember the idea from school and the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet.
Since then we have 5+ per day and the Pyramid diet. But consumption is still less than recommended and produced from Survey by Research First Released in October gives the price “often justification”.
the Confirmation from Stats NZ That we achieved a 32-year record, food inflation of 11.3% for the year ending December supports this justification.
Compared to December 2021, fruit and vegetable prices increased by 23%. Other food categories have also increased, but not as much as fruits and vegetables.
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Food is obviously more expensive than it used to be, but the question of actual expenses depends on what one is trying to calculate. This may be the profit margin for producers or supermarkets, affordability in relation to income, or “value for money”.
If the latter, what is the required value? tasting? energy? vitamins? protein? caffeine?
Coffee contains three to four times as much caffeine as cola, but black coffee (without sugar), like diet cola, has no energy, while regular cola does.
Whether at home or in a coffee shop, a cup of coffee and a cup of cola are similar in cost. If caffeine is what is needed, coffee gives a better value.
For most animals, the first requirement after sleep is energy, followed by protein. Theories regarding protein include the requirement to obtain enough essential amino acids to meet physiological requirements.
It is obtained with the lowest calories (energy) from animal protein. This is because the essential amino acids are in an absorbable form in ratios that meet the requirements of the animal (including human).
The question of how to meet basic dietary intakes has been answered by Canterbury-based nutritionist Dr Graeme Coles.
He calculated that an adult’s basic amino acid, energy, and fiber needs could be met by six cheddar cheese sandwiches.
More good news is that a cheeseburger (or six) meets nutritional needs with less environmental impact than other options.
The key is that cheese is made from milk and is a complete food for infant animals. All the proteins in milk are accessible, unlike meat or soy.
Moreover, the essential amino acids are a favorite protein:calorie ratio. In 100 grams of milk, 3.7 grams of protein can be used and are associated with 42 calories. For interest, 100g steak contains 18.4g usable protein associated with 187 calories.
In an unsubsidized food distribution system such as that of New Zealand, it is significantly cheaper to meet daily essential amino acid requirements using dairy products, particularly cheese and butter, than with any other approach.
Coles calculated that 2000 calories can be provided by sandwiches using 180 grams of cheddar cheese, 60 grams of butter and 12 slices of wholemeal bread, and this also provides all the essential amino acid requirements and sufficient dietary fiber to meet the health recommendations. All this for about $8…
Moreover, research has shown that such a diet reduces greenhouse gas emissions as well.
“A well-managed dairy cow meets the annual essential amino acid needs of approximately 17 adults, and the energy needs of approximately 15,” Coles says.
This calculation does not exclude the importance of fruits and vegetables, which are essential for vitamins as well as contribute fiber, hence the slogan 5+ a day.
the New Zealand Health Survey released in November indicates that half of adults and 70% of children meet their fruit intake recommendations (approximately two servings per day per person), but only 10% of adults and 6% of children meet their vegetable intake recommendations (2.5 to 5.5 servings) per day With increasing age / size).
For vitamin A, E, B3, phosphorus and potassium, carrots (33c/100g) beat oranges (40c/100g).
For vitamin C, oranges contain it. But oranges also contain much more sugar than carrots.
The solution could be adding grated carrots to cheese sandwiches, with a squeeze of lemon juice to delay browning.
Lemons (free in many gardens, but currently $1.05/100g in supermarkets) generally have less vitamin C than oranges but less sugar.
Fruits and vegetables Valuable sources of energy, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
There is also increasing evidence of additional health benefits from the range of phytonutrients it contains.
However, in the Research First survey, 64% of respondents stated that they do not meet the 5+ per day recommendation because fruit and vegetable prices are too high.
Rather than price, we must consider value in the food being consumed, as well as taste and convenience.
Journalist and author advice Michael Pollan It makes sense — eat a variety of foods as close to unprocessed as possible, summed up as: “Eat. Not too much. Mostly from plants.”
And remember to include cheese sandwich.
- Jacqueline Roarth has been a vegan for nearly 50 years. Graeme Coles is a carnivore.