The Great Nutrient Collapse: How Climate Change is Affecting Our Food

We’ve all heard the old adage “you are what you eat.” This refers, of course, to the practice of eating high quality food to achieve high quality nutrition. Another newer saying “you are what you eat, ate” is more accurate. In the case of consuming animal protein, we are affected by what the animals are fed and what they are exposed to. This concept brings us back to the food chain you learned about in grade school.

However, we rarely raise the question, “What did the animal you eat consume over its lifetime?” Why? Well, there are too many questions that address the “what” to eat for human health that it simply gets lost (i.e. grass-fed versus grain-fed debate alongside ethical animal husbandry). Eating “healthy” is hard enough. Why do I need to care about what my food ate, too?

Well, more complexity has been added to the conversation. Just as the world’s population is adversely affected by things like pollution and the big pesticides in farming, climate change is also impacting the quality of our food. This pertains to both animal and plant sources, as they are raised either on the earth or in the earth and all are exposed to the same air that we breathe every day.

Do you find these issues to be confusing? You are not alone! While scientists are developing new methods to improve the quantity of our food sources, researchers are doing studies to determine the effect that these changes are having on the quality of our food. All the while, our very nutrition is at stake every waking minute.

 

Carbon Dioxide is Useful, and High Levels are Toxic

According to the Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB) of the US National Library of Medicine, carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless gas and liquid, or solid (dry ice): white, snow-like flakes or cubes. It is registered for pesticide use in the U.S. but approved pesticide uses may change periodically and so federal, state and local authorities must be consulted for currently approved uses.

Carbon dioxide is used as a pesticide for insect control in stored grain under modified atmospheres containing approximately 60% CO2. It is also used as rodenticide (mice and rats). Other uses include: refrigeration, carbonated beverages, aerosol propellant, chemical intermediate (carbonates, synthetic fibers, p-xylene, etc.), low-temperature testing, fire extinguishing, inert atmospheres, municipal water treatment, medicine during surgical procedures, enrichment of air in greenhouses, fracturing and acidizing of oil wells, mining (Cardox method), miscible pressure source, hardening of foundry molds and cores, shielding gas for welding, cloud seeding, hydraulic fracturing, moderator in some types of nuclear reactors, immobilization for humane animal killing, special lasers, blowing agent, as demulsifier in tertiary oil recovery, possible source of methane, (liquid) carrier for powdered-coal slurry. Supercritical or liquid CO2 used in extraction of caffeine and hops aroma; dry cleaning; metal degreasing; cleaning semiconductor chips; paint spraying; polymer modification.

These are all man-made uses. Remember, CO2 is produced by the body's metabolism, and is always present in the body at about 6% concentration. An average adult human will produce more than 500 grams CO2 daily under resting conditions, and will produce much more when active. The gas is a weak central nervous system (CNS) depressant at 30,000 parts per million (ppm), giving rise to reduced acuity of hearing and increasing blood pressure and pulse. When the concentration of CO2 rises to 7%-10%, it produces unconsciousness within a few minutes. At low concentrations, gaseous carbon dioxide appears to have little toxicological effect. At higher concentrations it leads to an increased respiratory rate, tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias and impaired consciousness.

 

Atmospheric CO2 Adversely Affects Plants of all Kinds

The burning of fossil fuels increases the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The rise in atmospheric CO2 has a detrimental effect on plants of all kinds.

The net result is a rise in starch and sugar content of plants and a decline in mineral and overall nutrient content. Each year, a greater percentage of each plant will deliver more empty calories due to the amount of carbon dioxide that they are exposed to. These effects are not relegated to agriculture alone, but impacts every leaf and blade of grass on Earth.

While this affects everyone who eats plants and/or animals, the increase in carbohydrate consumption is seen first in those who are the most susceptible. This includes diabetics and those with compromised immune systems.

 

Summary

Samples collected over three decades demonstrate nutrient density to be consistently dropping year after year. Since we have been seeing a real reversal of the ratio of carbohydrates to minerals in the plants we eat, this will impact our body on a cellular level. This is particularly noticeable in the overall decreased concentration of minerals; the great nutrient collapse.

When carbohydrate content is increased and mineral content is decreased, the plants we eat today resemble more junk food versus a nutritious choice. While scientists and researchers are now searching for a way to solve this problem, it behooves us to make wiser choices when it comes to food consumption and proper supplementation.

The answer for most consumers is to choose the highest quality food available and to supplement where necessary. The aid of a nutritionist or holistic practitioner is recommended to determine exact requirements.

 

CONTACT US TODAY! For more information about optimum nutrition, our team of certified integrative physicians and practitioners are here to help. Let’s work together to get on the path to lifelong wellness.

Author
Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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