Author Topic: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?  (Read 14539 times)

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Offline kurite

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Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« on: July 19, 2010, 06:54:47 am »
Hi,
I was thinking that yes it takes more energy to produce meat than fruit but what about all the other parts of the equation. What Im trying to ask is does it take more energy to produce ten bananas (lets say 1000 calories) and then send it on a large cargo ship all the way to America or produce 1lb of US beef (1000 calories)? Which is actually more harmful to the environment?
thanks
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Offline goodsamaritan

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2010, 08:04:21 am »
Mixed up question.
In the first place, calorie counting stinks.
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Offline michaelwh

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2010, 09:48:18 am »
In the second place, 1000 calories from bananas has a very different effect on the body than 1000 calories from beef. The most efficient combination would probably be enough bananas to prevent protein gluconeogenesis, and the remaining calories from beef.

Mixed up question.
In the first place, calorie counting stinks.

Offline kurite

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2010, 10:10:29 am »
...I understand calories don't really matter but Im just using them as a measure for this question.
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Offline goodsamaritan

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2010, 11:42:09 am »
Fruiting is a way trees propagate.  They want their fruit to be eaten by animals so their seeds are dispersed.  This has been discussed extensively in fruitarian writings.

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Offline kurite

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2010, 11:54:09 am »
Yes but banana tree seeds are actually sterile. They grow them this way on purpose. But its really transportation that takes up a chunk of energy. And my argument is also that by growing one type of tree thousands of times over it ruins all biodiversity. Thats why im wondering which is worse for the environment.
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Offline Nation

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2010, 12:39:13 pm »
The most efficient combination would probably be enough bananas to prevent protein gluconeogenesis, and the remaining calories from beef.

You've just insinuated that Raw Omni is a superior diet to Raw Carnivore, a lot of people would not agree with your statement.

Offline kurite

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2010, 01:19:42 pm »
You've just insinuated that Raw Omni is a superior diet to Raw Carnivore, a lot of people would not agree with your statement.
A lot would not and a lot would. Different versions of the paleo diet work better for certain people. Lets not get into an omivore vs carnivore fight.
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Offline Josh

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2010, 04:38:49 pm »
Yes it's more environmentally friendly to eat fruit, and to get your protein from soya. I'm not prepared to eat a non-human diet in the name of environmentalism though!

Range reared and wild meats are not the greatest of the worlds problems, and if we ever sort out oil-based economy, pollution from factories, multinationals clearing the rainforests etc etc etc we can take stock then of the best way to give people a good diet.

Offline kurite

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2010, 04:51:24 pm »
Yes it's more environmentally friendly to eat fruit, and to get your protein from soya. I'm not prepared to eat a non-human diet in the name of environmentalism though!
yep, that is why where here.
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Offline djr_81

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2010, 07:17:10 pm »
It's not an easily answerable question due to the variables.
For instance, if someone in a northern area were to compare tropical fruits shipped into their local store versus locally raised grass-fed/finished beef the beef would require less non-renewable energy to get it to your table. Alternatively local temperate fruit, say apples, versus standard grain-finished beef would have the opposite.
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Offline michaelwh

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2010, 07:50:48 pm »
You've just insinuated that Raw Omni is a superior diet to Raw Carnivore, a lot of people would not agree with your statement.

I only said that Raw Omni is more EFFICIENT than Raw Carni, I didn't make any claims about it being superior or more healthy. What I mean, is that if you want to get the most energy out of the least amount of food, it's simply more efficient to directly eat carbs than to turn protein into glucose.

I'm well aware that for some people, directly eating carbs can cause problems, such as mineral imbalances, or blood sugar issues, and that a raw carnivore diet would be best for such people.

Offline djr_81

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2010, 01:12:09 am »
I only said that Raw Omni is more EFFICIENT than Raw Carni, I didn't make any claims about it being superior or more healthy. What I mean, is that if you want to get the most energy out of the least amount of food, it's simply more efficient to directly eat carbs than to turn protein into glucose.
And fat is more efficient as an energy source than carbs... :P
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Offline Sitting Coyote

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2010, 10:23:48 am »
Very complicated question.  I'm glad you asked.

First, I disagree with the statement that fruit is a more "efficient" source of calories relative to animal products (assuming a mix of muscle, organ and fat here).  Carbohydrates (from sugars, in this case) yield something like 5 calories per gram.  A chunk of the average cow (assuming 50% fat, 50% protein) yields something like 6-7 calories per gram.  So by the gram, you get more calories from animal food than from fruit.

But people can't live solely on calories.  There are a wide array of nutrients, including vitamins, enzymes, minerals, proteins in foods that we need every bit as much as we need calories.  Some of them are easier to get from fruit, some easier to get from animal foods.  Which if the two types of foods is more efficient at delivering these nutrients depends on which is in the shortest supply in your body at that moment.

And then we get to the question of how we measure environmental impact.  Which is better for biodiversity, growing vast monocultures of hybridized fruit trees (we call them orchards in temperate areas), or planting pasture for grazing ruminants?  One could certainly plant a more diverse orchard, both in terms of species as well as structure.  One could also plant a more diverse pasture, both in terms of species and structure.  I suspect pasture is more useful for the purpose of biodiversity than orchards.

Finally, some folks believe that soil health is probably even more important than biodiversity.  So which is better at building and maintaining healthy soil, an orchard or a grazed pasture?  I'd guess pasture, at least if it's well managed. 


Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2010, 11:47:35 am »
Well said, Eric.

Give up bananas (unless you live in Southeast Asia) to help save the environment:

  "It seems to me in this country we have yet to assign any moral value to the overconsumption of the world's limited resources. .... If you can afford it, it's OK to use it. That seems to be the only rule. There are many, many paths toward finding a better and more sustainable way to live in the world. Some people do it by giving up meat, I did it by giving up bananas because when I think about all those fossil fuels that are burned in a refrigerated cargo hold to get that stuff to me, that didn't seem cruelty free to me. I wanted to find another way to live that would brighten the prospects of my children's time on this earth."   --Barbara Kingsolver, author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, in an interview on Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett, (Starting at 23:52), http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/2010/ethics-of-eating/
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
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Offline Paleo Donk

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2010, 12:29:36 pm »
First, I disagree with the statement that fruit is a more "efficient" source of calories relative to animal products (assuming a mix of muscle, organ and fat here).  Carbohydrates (from sugars, in this case) yield something like 5 calories per gram.  A chunk of the average cow (assuming 50% fat, 50% protein) yields something like 6-7 calories per gram.  So by the gram, you get more calories from animal food than from fruit.


Most of the sweet fruit I have looked up ranges from .4-.7 calories per gram as fruit is generally at least 85% water. Lean meat on the other hand is close to 75% water averaging around 1.5 calories per gram. Fattier cuts can be around 3 calories per gram. Lex rooker reports suet and back fat to be 6-7 calories per gram and I have seen reports for bone marrow to be around 5-7 calories per gram.

Offline Sitting Coyote

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2010, 01:08:49 pm »
Most of the sweet fruit I have looked up ranges from .4-.7 calories per gram as fruit is generally at least 85% water. Lean meat on the other hand is close to 75% water averaging around 1.5 calories per gram. Fattier cuts can be around 3 calories per gram. Lex rooker reports suet and back fat to be 6-7 calories per gram and I have seen reports for bone marrow to be around 5-7 calories per gram.

I obviously forgot to take water content into consideration, so thanks for the correction and clarification.  This makes the caloric value of animal foods even greater on a mass basis, so the question becomes how much animal mass versus fruit mass can you raise on an acre (or hectare) of land without diminishing ecological and soil health?  Or better yet, how much animal or fruit mass can you raise on a unit of land while enhancing ecological and soil health? 

As a rule of thumb, biomass usually diminishes by a factor of ten each time you rise one rung up a food chain.  But only a small proportion of an orchard's biomass is edible fruit, while a much larger proportion of the first herbivore rung is edible animal mass although you can't harvest it all or they will go extinct.  This is also true in grasslands. 

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2010, 05:52:20 pm »
There is also the major fact that grassland in much less demanding than orchards in terms of soil quality, climate, water, altitude etc.

In particular in mountainous regions raising cattle is generally quite possible where neither orchards nor agriculture can be implemented. This is precisely why such regions are environmentally preserved. Moreover fruit is not a food that contains everything we need in terms of nutrients in contrast to food of animal origin.

I think that in most temperate regions it is environmentally friendly to eat some fruit of local production but not to make a staple of them.

Offline michaelwh

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2010, 07:02:23 pm »
On small farms, I've seen cattle kept in a cherry orchard, and an apple orchard. They were moved to a different pasture when the time came to pick the fruit. So sometimes the same land can be used for both, at least on a small scale. And the trees provide shade for the cattle on hot summer days.

When I said that fruit is more efficient than animal products, I was only talking about GLUCOSE, not overall calories. You need to consider how protein vs carbs are metabolized in the body, not just look at calories per gram.

I'm not just talking theoretically. I tried a raw carnivore diet while doing lots of heavy exercise every day (both aerobic and anaerobic). My appetite skyrocketed, as did my food bill. I found that adding a small amount of carbs (50-100g per day) significantly reduced my appetite for meat, while maintaining performance.

First, I disagree with the statement that fruit is a more "efficient" source of calories relative to animal products (assuming a mix of muscle, organ and fat here).  Carbohydrates (from sugars, in this case) yield something like 5 calories per gram.  A chunk of the average cow (assuming 50% fat, 50% protein) yields something like 6-7 calories per gram.  So by the gram, you get more calories from animal food than from fruit.

Offline Josh

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2010, 07:20:20 pm »

I'm not just talking theoretically. I tried a raw carnivore diet while doing lots of heavy exercise every day (both aerobic and anaerobic). My appetite skyrocketed, as did my food bill. I found that adding a small amount of carbs (50-100g per day) significantly reduced my appetite for meat, while maintaining performance.


Yes it is quite absurd in terms of energetic and biochemical efficiency to force our organism to systematically convert proteins or glycerol into glucose in order to meet the irreducible quantity we need anyway to run brain and muscles. This minimum amounts apparently indeed to 50-100g a day that we optimally get from fruit, vegetables and starchy roots.

alphagruis

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2010, 07:35:26 pm »
Topical article in the New Scientist:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727691.200-veggieworld-why-eating-greens-wont-save-the-planet.html



Interesting analysis though it not even mentions the major (admittedly politically incorrect) problem in these matters: world population is already way too large to be compatible in the long term with both an overall healthy environment and a healthy diet for every human being.

Offline Josh

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2010, 09:36:29 am »
Yes it is quite absurd in terms of energetic and biochemical efficiency to force our organism to systematically convert proteins or glycerol into glucose in order to meet the irreducible quantity we need anyway to run brain and muscles. This minimum amounts apparently indeed to 50-100g a day that we optimally get from fruit, vegetables and starchy roots.

Carnivores seem to be fine without vegetation...why is it absurd?
« Last Edit: July 23, 2010, 11:35:29 am by Josh »

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2010, 10:27:14 am »
Yes it is quite absurd in terms of energetic and biochemical efficiency to force our organism to systematically convert proteins or glycerol into glucose in order to meet the irreducible quantity we need anyway to run brain and muscles. This minimum amounts apparently indeed to 50-100g a day that we optimally get from fruit, vegetables and starchy roots.
It's not absurd if the 50-100g /day of plant carbs bring back many of your past symptoms, like spikes and troughs of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, painful cystic acne, dry skin, poor sleep quality, increased hairloss, poor circulation, yada, yada, yada.

How many times do VLCers and ZCers have to explain why we eat this way? Do you think Lex's disappearance of precancerous skin lesions and increased jaw bone density were figments of his imagination? Do you think I choose to eat this way merely because I want to when I have stated countless times that I love the taste of raw fruit and raw honey? Both Lex and I have talked about adding back plant foods if necessary, and I've even been trying to find a way to do it. Why is this message not getting across? Why do we continue to see comments from multiple people that contain built-in assumptions that there's no rational reason for anyone to do VLC or ZC?

And I pose the same questions, with terms modified as necessary, to the ZCers who keep assuming that everyone does well on ZC. Once again I plead with people on both sides of LC vs. Mod/High Carb opinion swaps to speak for themselves when talking about who does well on what. If you can't do that, then at the very least, provide some evidence beyond your own opinions. Both sides are obviously not persuaded by the opinions on the other side. Surely we can all agree on that.

I've been trying for a couple months or so now to find a way to fit more plants and seaweeds in my diet, in part to see if it will help with my life-long constipation, with not much luck so far (I appear to handle seaweeds and some low-starch veg OK, but haven't noticed any benefits yet). It doesn't make things any easier when people make such broad-brush characterizations of VLC/ZC and VLCers/ZCers when for at least some of us it's not even a diet of our own choosing. I came to it kicking and screaming, and opinions expressed by people (such as my physicians, nutritionist and others) along the lines of Alphagruis' only worked to further my suffering. I don't know what the final answer will be, but I would have been better off encountering Lex and other VLCers and ZCers long ago. Alphagruis, please think twice before you advise people to eat 50, 100 or more grams of plant carbs. At least include some qualifiers. Every individual is different.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2010, 10:47:02 am by PaleoPhil »
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

alphagruis

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Re: Is it actually more environmentally friendly to eat fruit?
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2010, 04:37:31 pm »
Carnivores seem to be fine without vegetation...why is it absurd?

Well first carnivores get some vegetation and often eat preferentially first the organs with their contents, the richest part of the preys in terms of nutrients and carbs.

Second they have specialized to such a restrictive diet, have to get their glucose as they can, given their specialization, have a relatively less performant brain to feed than humans and have indeed specific adaptation to their diet in terms nitrogen waste excretion we do not possess. Conversion of amino acids into glucose needs a lot of energy on the one hand (and thus by the way additional free radicals production) and produces a lot of additional nitrogen waste in the form of urea and uric acid that must be excreted on the other hand. Carnivores are capable to convert uric acid into allanthoine which is more soluble in water and thus definitely easier to excrete.


 

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