Tuesday, October 13, 2009
In the last forty years, the relative availability of staple foods like cereals, pulses and starchy roots has declined in almost all geographic regions of the earth. There are partial shifts from staple foods toward vegetable oils and sugar in low- and lower-middle income countries; towards vegetable oils, sugar and meat in upper-middle income countries; and towards vegetable oils and meat in higher-income countries. The relative availability of fruits and vegetables has only slightly climbed in most countries and still far from the recommended level in both developed and developing countries. The food availability changes on nutritional standards of the diet has created the following impacts: there are likely impacts of increase in total fat content and decrease in total content across the globe, increase in energy density in both developed and developing countries, decrease in fiber content throughout the world and decrease in protein content in developing countries. Meanwhile, there are possible impacts of increased saturated fats, decreased vitamins and minerals, increased glycaemic index and decreased bioactive compounds like flavonoids, among others. Since this is the case, the food availability changes in the last forty years are parallel with the changes in human diets specifically in association to the prevalence of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, particular types of cancer, and other nutrition-related non-communicable diseases. This deterioration is aggravated by the lower replacement of staple foods by fruit and vegetables in place of meats, fats and sugar. The low availability and consumption of fruits and vegetables and the consequent excess in the availability and consumption of meats, fats and sugar causes the deterioration of human nutritional diet anywhere in the world.