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Veganism: key to end world hunger

Cassidy Monson, Reporter

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  World hunger is obviously a huge problem; it’s an epidemic people have been working on ending for a long time. Many solutions have come up, and many pick away at the problem, but none have actually made a big enough difference to be considered successful.

  According to the Food Aid Foundation, 795 million people in the world are starving right now. Malnutrition affects about 870 million people worldwide. It also account for the deaths of more than 2.5 million children under the age of five every year. What if there was a way to prevent these deaths, what if you could make a difference? What if I told you that there is currently enough food on the planet right now to feed every man, woman, and child? The answer? Eating a vegan diet. No one has to suffer and no one has to die. When asked if he would consider becoming a vegan to solve world hunger, one student responded, “If you aren’t eating animals, you’re eating their food. What’s the difference?” Therein lies the misunderstanding.

  This food, the grains full of nutrients, is being fed to farm animals instead of humans in need and in pain, and it is used much more efficiently by the humans. Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment determined that only 36 percent of the calories naturally found in crops are being fed to farm animals, and when they get turned into food for human consumption, only 12 percent of that 36 percent makes its way into the human diet as meat. That’s a two-thirds drop in the number of calories than that would have been available in the grains had they just been consumed directly by humans in the first place.

  Those same researchers determined that growing crops for direct human consumption increases available food calories by up to 70 percent. The newly freed up crops would be enough to feed an additional four billion people. Plus, the 760 million tons of grain a year being used to feed animals to produce meat could feed a total of 11 billion people. That’s enough food to end the global food shortage 14 times over. Consider it this way: It takes 13-14 pounds of grain in order to produce just one pound of meat. The same 14 pounds of grain could feed 56 people whereas one pound of meat can only feed 4.

 Yes, this would take a lot of cooperation, and not everyone would be excited to give up meat and dairy products. Others are skeptical about whether or not this would effectively make a difference. “If it were that easy, I would love to, but the reality is that there isn’t one simple answer to world hunger. I just feel that it’s impossible to expect every single human on the planet to cooperate enough to agree on one specific food choice,” Sarah Youinou (10) said.

  Certainly, individuals are free to choose their diets for themselves, but there are also many health benefits to a vegan diet. A vegan diet can reverse cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. “Animal fats have been linked to a range of illnesses and conditions, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, and various cancers. Animal sources are likely to account for 13 of the top 15 sources of cholesterol-raising fats in the U.S.,” Medical News Today Reports in Nov. 2017. Meat eaters are at a higher risk of colorectal and prostate cancers than vegetarians and vegans. The vegan diet consists of higher volumes of legumes, fruits and vegetables, fiber, and vitamin C. These are believed to protect against a variety of cancers.

Being vegan also helps reduce the risk of obesity, which is a huge problem in America today. People on a vegan diet often take in fewer calories than a those on a standard Western diet. This can lead to a lower body mass index (BMI) and result in a lower risk for obesity. A lower BMI is linked to lower LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Lower levels of harmful cholesterol mean that vegans have a lower risk of mortality from stroke and ischemic heart disease than people who eat meat.

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Veganism: key to end world hunger