A relative nutritional deficiencies of the 21st century
Updated: Jul 12, 2019
Relative nutritional deficiencies occur when the amount of nutrients taken in is
normal, but the amount is not enough to meet the demands of the body in
order to experience good health.
In recent years, it has become clear that relative nutritional deficiencies are
becoming wide spread all over the world. There are about 2.3 billion obese or
overweight adults across the western world. Worldwide obesity has nearly
tripled since 1975. Yet, almost 80% of adults and children suffer from
RND today and the question is why? There is certainly enough food being grown,
enough animals being raised for consumption and plentiful other foods being produced.
Recent change in diets is largely because of increased access to low-nutrient,
processed and fast foods. These are often cheaper, easy to prepare and aggressively marketed.
Our food has changed more in the past 75 years than in the previous one thousand years:
use of pesticides and herbicides increased in the 1940’s, in the 1970’s Monsanto began using glyphosate to kill weeds and in 1994 commercial sale of genetically modified foods
began. Conventional farming has been growing steadily since the 1950’s.
The intent to feed the masses, once seen as positive, is now proving to be
rather destructive, as the methods used are not without side effects.
In order to sustain good health and well-being, our bodies are constantly working
towards homeostasis (constant internal environment). However this cannot be
achieved without the correct supply of vitamins and minerals.
Sustainable agriculture could be described as a production system that respects ecosystems, soil, animals, people and overall environment. It simply works with nature, not against it. There are many advantages to this way of farming:
- Long term health of soil due to crop rotating, companion planting, use of green and livestock manures, natural pesticides such as pyrethrin derived from chrysanthemum flower instead of chemicals.
- Lower greenhouse emissions
- Less water pollution
- Improved energy efficiency
- Better animal welfare- livestock is bread outdoors with access to natural food and is allowed to mature naturally without the use of growth hormones; this ensures high concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids, which are linked to reduction in cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development and function, and better immune function. (Carlo Leifert, 2014).
Conventional farming, also known as industrial agriculture, refers to farming systems, which include the use of synthetic chemical fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified organisms, heavy irrigation and intensive tillage. Despite its name, this agricultural method did not become widespread until after World War 2. Current industrial farming however comes with many side effects:
1. Agriculture’s link to global climate change is just beginning to be highlighted. Destruction of tropical forests and other native vegetation for agricultural production has a role in elevated levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
2. Biodiversity loss, environmental degradation, impact on ecosystem such as crop pollination, wildlife habitat, soil health.
3. It is the largest source of water pollution including salts, fertilisers, pesticides, and manures. Pesticides from every chemical class have been detected in groundwater and are commonly found in groundwater beneath agricultural areas. Reduced water quality impacts agricultural production, drinking water supplies, and fishery production.
4. Cruelty to animals that are often kept in less than ethical environment is also a concern, including the use of growth hormones, pesticides in feeds and over use of antibiotics. These pesticides and hormones have oestrogen-like effects and are passed on to humans as they are consumed. This explains the alarmingly high rate of endocrine disorders in our modern day population.
A study conducted by Mineral Resources International (UK) in 2000 concluded that there was a significant loss of micronutrients between 1940’s to 1991. The study compared 27 varieties of vegetables, 17 fruits and 10 meats. The losses were staggering such as 76% less in copper and 59% less in zinc. The study suggests these losses can be linked to recent dietary, environmental and disease trends, including contamination of vegetables, fruits and meat with pesticides, hormones, heavy metals, antibiotics and food additives. Conventional farming may seem ideal for feeding the world, but the environmental and health impact is far too great, for this to function in the foreseeable future.
Other contributing factors
Other factors contributing to relative nutritional deficiencies are chronic stress, genetic predispositions, gut dysbiosis, toxicity, possible trauma and medications.
Over the last 25 years with the big revolution in genetics, epigenetics, neuroscience and neuroplasty we know for certain that only 5% of chronic illnesses are fully predictable and related to gene mutations. This means we have influence over 95% of our well-being. 95% of diseases are preventable depending on our lifestyle, environment and diet and in a large amount of cases completely reversible. We are an actual participants in any disease.