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Innovative Approaches to Food and Nutrition

There are three important breaking moments throughout history in the understanding of “Nutrition and Food” of human beings. The first was the discovery of fire, which gave mankind the opportunity to cook their food on fire and was an important revolution for that time.

The second was the discovery of agriculture in the Neolithic Period. With agriculture, man has had the ability to produce more food than he can consume. In this way, he has attained some comfort in obtaining food relatively.

The Industrial Revolution was the third important breaking moment. The industrial revolution that took place in the 19th century paved the way for the industrial production of food and ensured that food could be produced in high quantities and transported to faraway lands.

After these first three breaking moments, my guess is that as of the 21st century, human beings are on the verge of deciding on a fourth breaking moment. Industrial production of food brought along a lot of questions, especially in terms of health, along with its benefits.

In response to these problems, a trend towards healthy and natural food has developed today. This orientation even led to the emergence of the concepts of “organic agriculture” and “organic food”.

However, the development of technology and science continues unceasingly in the field of food. As a result, many new approaches and trends have emerged in food. At this point, mankind will make a decision. There are three options before us;

1. The path of the industrial revolution will be continued with a capitalist approach,

2. There will be a return to natural food; industrial food production will be adapted to natural food,

3. New approaches will be adopted and adapted to industrial production.

If I were asked as a food scientist, I would choose the second path without hesitation. However, it seems that nowadays we are starting to go with the third option.

At this point, let’s take a look at what are the new approaches in food and nutrition;

1. Veganism and Vegetarianism

It is mainly due to a perspective that keeps a distance from animal foods. It may be more understandable if we make their definitions;

Vegetarians; They do not consume red meat. They consume fish and chicken meat, eggs, honey, milk and dairy products. The word vegetarian was first used in 1842.

Lactovegetarians; They consume only milk and dairy products from animal foods.

Lactoovovegetarians; They consume only eggs, milk and dairy products from animal foods.

Flexible vegetarian (Flexitarian); They do not have any ideology and sometimes consume meat or other animal foods.

Vegan; They do not consume any animal food; They do not use any products of animal origin, including for clothing. It was first introduced in 1944.

Veganism is of 3 types;

Ethical veganism; They are vegan because they advocate for animal rights.

Environmental veganism; They are vegan because they argue that animal products harm the environment.

Veganism for health; They are vegan because they advocate that this way of eating is healthy.

2. Genetically Modified Organisms

Especially in order to increase the yield and efficiency in plants, the genetic structure of the plant has been changed (You can read detailed information about Genetically Modified Organisms here; An Overview of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)).

It started to enter our lives in the second half of the 20th century. If we look at the world in general, there are countries that produce and consume GMOs intensively, but there are also countries that are “distance” from GMOs.

3. Artificial Meat

It is mainly produced by growing stem cells taken from animals with nutritive liquids in a laboratory environment. It has not entered our lives yet, but it is foreseen that it will take place widely in the market in the next 20 years. There is intense debate on artificial meat, both in terms of health and belief.

4. Capsule Foods and Supplements

For some reason, in the last 50 years, in the majority of science fiction films that envision the future, it was imagined that human beings would be fed with capsule foods. What was missed here was: People do not only feed to obtain energy and building blocks, human beings have severe expectations of taste pleasure from food. So this was not a coherent point of view.

However, today, many capsule products such as food supplements are finding intense buyers in the market. There is also controversy over the usefulness of these products.

5. Slow Food

It can be said that this approach was born as a reaction to the “Fast Food” culture. Rather than going to the root of the problem (away from the discussions of artificiality and naturalness in food), he argues that humans should be fed with elaborate tables instead of “snack culture”.

In short, the 21st century has introduced us to many different innovations in food and nutrition. Sometimes the changes were accepted, and sometimes reaction movements were born. It seems that one way or another, we are at a decision stage. We are currently discussing it; It may take up to 20 years for us to decide. I hope that after 20 years we will have chosen the right path.

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