Author Topic: Is it possible to enrich food by taking it apart and rebuilding it?  (Read 483 times)

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Offline santaclause102

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I don't think we can get further off topic but it's fun. Here is a little controversy I had with arhag and it did not fit the OP: https://bitsharestalk.org/index.php?topic=8933.msg116621#msg116621
This is where it began https://bitsharestalk.org/index.php?topic=8933.msg116475#msg116475 and arhag referd to http://www.soylent.me/

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My intention is not at all to diminish what you are doing. It sounds really cool. But I am interested to see what your thoughts are on something like Soylent? I mean in some sense it is a very depressing way forward for humanity. People enjoy eating fresh natural food. But there is a lot of efficiency to be gained by taking advantage of economies of scale to farm nutrients and then convert the nutrition into a form that can travel really well over long distances without spoiling. And I don't even think it would need to travel that far. Someday in the future, it could be possible to grow the nutrients in well-controlled, large bio-factories powered by nuclear power located not too far away from major population centers.
This is a bit off topic and has nothing to do with Gingerbread's DAC proposal.
It is a myth that food can be enhanced by braking it down into its "essential" parts where after only the valuable parts are taken and put into a product (powder or liquid).
A few things to mention are:
If we take away some parts, what are the parts we don't need? Mostly fibers and water are left out which are crucial too. There is nothing not crucial in natural foods. There is just imbalances. But you can not make a product out of that...
Second: There are many new discoveries made about substances science did not see any value in or did not know before. It is hybris to believe we have come to an end (or even have gotten far) in this process of understanding nature.
Third: Our bodies (incl. digesting organs) have adapted over a long time to the types of foods we consume (not a proof but an indicator that condensing them could be not suited to our bodies).
Who profits from such believes that foods can be condensed is the supplement industry.

The parts we don't need are the excess that the body must dispose of either through urine or feces or sweat. Some amount of fiber is also necessary it seems. There is also the worry of building up the excess in the body (hypertoxicity). The idea is to get the balance right (at least good enough) for each human to minimize the waste and negative consequences, and to do this at a low cost.

I am not claiming we know everything about nutrition. My only claim is that we cannot learn more without scientific experimentation. To the extent people are voluntarily willing to try these sorts of diets that have very precise measurements of the nutrients contained within, we can learn a lot about what we still do not know about the human body's needs. That is after all how we learned about so many vitamins (people suffered from malnutrition because their diet wasn't giving them the essential vitamins they needed, and it was only after investigating the reason behind their suffering that we were able to learn that fact and improve our understanding of the biology).

You are right that this is getting off topic. So, perhaps we should carry this conversation into the random discussion sub-forum if people are still interested to continue.

I don't share the believe that it is possible yet (and I doubt it will ever be possible) to engineering food better than it appears in it's natural form (better as in prolonging life, making us feel better, having less dissease etc.) I agree that there is a lot of benefit from scientific research and experimentation. It is difficult though in clinical research to identify the effects we refer to here.

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The parts we don't need are the excess that the body must dispose of either through urine or feces or sweat.
That is not always true. All the fibers for example end up in feces but play an essential role with a healthy digestion and prevent stomach cancer long term.

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The idea is to get the balance right (at least good enough) for each human to minimize the waste and negative consequences
I also doubt that scientific experimentation can come up with a superior formula than evolution. Over hundreds of thousands of years we have adopted to the unprocessed stuff we can find out there.   

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people suffered from malnutrition because their diet wasn't giving them the essential vitamins they needed, and it was only after investigating the reason behind their suffering that we were able to learn that fact and improve our understanding of the biology
I agree that there is a benefit from scientific research to avoid inefficiencies of certain vitamins or minerals but that is not the same as replacing all our food with one product. 

Let's take an example: Lettuce. I doubt that one could enhance the health benefits of lettuce by taking away some of it's parts. What would you take away? Water, fibers, long chained carbon hydrates, the protein the fat, the vitamin, the minerals?
« Last Edit: September 17, 2014, 10:42:54 am by delulo »