Author Topic: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?  (Read 3464 times)

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Online CarbShark

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Re: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?
« Reply #45 on: February 01, 2019, 07:33:40 pm »
Everything we eat comes from the energy from the sun.  The sun’s energy powers the conversion of atmospheric CO2 into the carbon contained in food.  Which then produces free energy when it’s oxidised back to CO2.

Can you honestly say that's what you meant when you said: "It takes around ten times as much energy to produce a calorie from animals than from plants." ?

If so, it's a nonsense point and it's not supported by the source you linked to.

Quote
How many food calories would you get from animal-based food if you took all the food calories from plant-based food and fed it to our tame herbivores, which is what would happen if we had to convert current agricultural land to grazing land?

This is a nonsense point. Your hypothetical has no relationship to your claim or the topic. And no one is saying we should convert current agricultural land to grazing land. This is pure obfuscating nonsense. (Obfuscating the fact that you made up numbers with no connection to reality.)

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I’ve provided real figures showing that 83% of farmland is used for livestock and produces 18% of food calories, and 17% of farmland is used for growing crops and produces 82% of food calories.  The figures suggest that the answer to the above question is around 4.5% instead of 10%, but still in the same order of magnitude.

Except those numbers don't account for a lot of things. Some farmland is used to grow tobacco, some cotton, some corn for ethanol. Some grazing land is underused, some is used to raise sheep for wool, some is allowed to go ferrel.
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You reckon, without any evidence (because you don’t know), that my 10 to 1 efficiency of plant-based over animal-based food is wrong.   If you ‘know’ my 10:1 ratio is wrong, then you should have a gut feeling as to what it is.

I think your corrected number (4.5%) is probably closer, but still misleading. Most of the land used to feed cattle is not suitable for farming. It's not like you can turn the dry and rocky planes of west Texas or the mountain praries of Montanna into acres and acres of wheat and corn.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 08:00:12 pm by CarbShark »
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Re: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?
« Reply #47 on: February 01, 2019, 08:01:22 pm »
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Re: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?
« Reply #48 on: February 01, 2019, 08:27:58 pm »
CarbShark,

Another citation, which is just considering the use of fossil fuels in production, and looking at food nitrogen in protein instead of calories.  It does vary according to the type of food.  The article does state that it does take, overall, 11 times as much energy from fossil fuel to produce animal-based protein as it does to produce plant-based protein, which is close to my 10 to 1.  And plant-based foods contain more carbohydrates, so the disadvantage would be even greater.

https://watermark.silverchair.com/660.pdf?token=AQECAHi208BE49Ooan9kkhW_Ercy7Dm3ZL_9Cf3qfKAc485ysgAAAkAwggI8BgkqhkiG9w0BBwagggItMIICKQIBADCCAiIGCSqGSIb3DQEHATAeBglghkgBZQMEAS4wEQQMGfi4yRmVhg36a8h4AgEQgIIB80DP4GcSmOiJawrZ341UETj4Oaiyrb7UqG1iFLMPijvwWLxv_uj3-8gIyMrB3g18CBLx2fmwOZSn9G2gELflJk-fjZ93aQslR9-cXox8FvrVWNeytIIoe3FIO_7F1X3po6YQNg9kD7jfSoWpoGlSqb0islaZ4_kDJrLpdjkix-XISJ7HyfbA991WQjfFJBnxVn3jTbDEHXNL7h8Z359TNLQurkXm-JxIqqhV74Bwi-PP4W5iqnXoBUrh0lh93Jn2A_xyCyizCytjbUgVNw8yb-vgyiTKBCl4WVFMRuSg43-Ei100zAMV7Z4j2lFoNM7qrV9k_Ll5_kQUGqgC2VtWuy5tQ3S-nfBrgfuiko02_6IClxT8lA73-jphb5V6pbfGu2exFZtsntYk76EuDK-NDKX0v79JCN2-i484h8Pc9DuOZ-k8DIWpDSGdlY7BCgayYC-Eh27etNZV7fs0dD3zcex1z4oU1W82EGdz6JSDy40TO0pbiWGXsor9zhufhKYzr8yJvdIzbERXLANFYeN1LS5fxepeZDiFAIj3u0ozePMdSz_M1rG0OnTeoEvf7E1coO4K82yUr5SqgOCDVtsTsy1gpxBpJMJ4NYFeCVEWqMl6vdsN3Vc9UzHBOgLJIksreLKJ4BESWs4ftgVRHClyfR_VJQ4

That link is dead.

Try this one:

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/78/3/660S/4690010
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Online CarbShark

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Re: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?
« Reply #49 on: February 02, 2019, 11:43:00 am »
Another citation, which is just considering the use of fossil fuels in production, and looking at food nitrogen in protein instead of calories.  It does vary according to the type of food.  The article does state that it does take, overall, 11 times as much energy from fossil fuel to produce animal-based protein as it does to produce plant-based protein, which is close to my 10 to 1.  And plant-based foods contain more carbohydrates, so the disadvantage would be even greater.

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/78/3/660S/4690010

So, still not a calorie per calorie comparison of meat vs. plant. It's a comparison of protein content between corn and beef. Yes corn does contain carbohydrate, but beef also contains fat and is fairly calorie dense, so no, you can't extrapolate between protein output and the calorie for calorie number you made up.

I think you should admit you were talking out of your ass and that there is no data to support your claim.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2019, 05:29:19 pm by CarbShark »
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Re: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?
« Reply #50 on: February 02, 2019, 03:58:20 pm »
Another citation, which is just considering the use of fossil fuels in production, and looking at food nitrogen in protein instead of calories.  It does vary according to the type of food.  The article does state that it does take, overall, 11 times as much energy from fossil fuel to produce animal-based protein as it does to produce plant-based protein, which is close to my 10 to 1.  And plant-based foods contain more carbohydrates, so the disadvantage would be even greater.

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/78/3/660S/4690010

So, still not a calorie per calorie comparison of meat vs. plant. It's a comparison of protein content between corn and beef. Yes corn does contain carbohydrate, but beef also contains fat and is fairly calorie dense, so no, you can't extrapolate between protein output and the calorie for calorie number you made up.

I think you should admit you were talking out of your ass and that there is no data to support your claim.

No, I’m not.  I read somewhere, sometime that plant-based foods require around 1/10th the energy required to produce a calorie of food energy as does animal-based food.  It does of course vary according to the the type of plant-based or animal-based food is under consideration.  Some are better, some are worse.  It also depends on the farming methods being employed.  Organic farming is worse efficiency-wise compared to conventional farming.

It’s a ballpark figure, not meant to be 100% accurate.  It’s roughly right, and the figures from land use and solar input and fossil fuel use with regard to protein content are in agreement with the ballpark figure.

You have a citation fetish.  If I told you that the sun rises in the east each morning or that Paris is the capital of France, you’d probably insist that I provide citations, and if I can’t provide them immediately, then it means the sun doesn’t rise in the east and Paris isn’t the capital of France.

There are some things that are true, regardless of whether I can provide citations that satisfy you.  One fact remains - plant-based foods require less, much less land and energy to produce than animal-based food.

I accept that your low carbohydrate/high fat ketogenic diet is a perfectly acceptable diet.  But I don’t accept that it’s the best or healthiest diet (the long term observational data are lacking), so it really can’t be the recommended diet for everyone.  But if you’re basing your diet mainly on animal-based food, then it’s not sustainable (there are apparently vegan ketogenic diets), and if everyone went on it, we’d need several Earths to feed the population.
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Re: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?
« Reply #51 on: February 02, 2019, 04:33:39 pm »
The 10:1 figure is for cows. I think pigs are 5:1 and chickens are 3:1. I don’t remember where dairy falls in that. Bugs have the best ratio of all. That’s for converting plant protein to animal protein. I’ve never seen figures for calories, but the conservation of energy and the inability for any system to be 100% efficient, and the fact that animals are quite inefficient, means that conversion rates for calories will be poor. But where it really gets scary is water use, where for cows it’s something like 100:1. I don’t know the number for other animals. Pigs have the additional issue of producing the most horrid, foul-smelling shit of any animal.

Because animals need to eat plants, they will always be grossly more inefficient at producing nutrition for people than if we ate the plants ourselves. The only time it makes any kind of environmental sense to eat meat is when the animals are raised on pasture on land that cannot be used to grow food suitable for human consumption. I.e., land that can produce grass or hay but not grains or beans or fruits or vegetables. And that’s assuming the animals are not fed any corn or grains. And it’s also assuming that you don’t care about the cruelty of the slaughterhouse and the way the animals are raised.
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Re: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?
« Reply #52 on: February 02, 2019, 05:16:32 pm »
The 10:1 figure is for cows. I think pigs are 5:1 and chickens are 3:1. I don’t remember where dairy falls in that. Bugs have the best ratio of all. That’s for converting plant protein to animal protein. I’ve never seen figures for calories, but the conservation of energy and the inability for any system to be 100% efficient, and the fact that animals are quite inefficient, means that conversion rates for calories will be poor. But where it really gets scary is water use, where for cows it’s something like 100:1. I don’t know the number for other animals. Pigs have the additional issue of producing the most horrid, foul-smelling shit of any animal.

Because animals need to eat plants, they will always be grossly more inefficient at producing nutrition for people than if we ate the plants ourselves. The only time it makes any kind of environmental sense to eat meat is when the animals are raised on pasture on land that cannot be used to grow food suitable for human consumption. I.e., land that can produce grass or hay but not grains or beans or fruits or vegetables. And that’s assuming the animals are not fed any corn or grains. And it’s also assuming that you don’t care about the cruelty of the slaughterhouse and the way the animals are raised.

Australia runs a lot of cattle in northern Australia, because the land isn’t suitable for agriculture.  There’s a lot of cattle because there’s a lot of land.  But the density of the cattle is very low, and mustering them takes a lot of effort.  The meat produced isn’t very good, virtually only used for rubbish foods such as hamburgers.  The locals when they want beef get it from the south, with the cattle raised on land which was also suitable for agriculture.

Land not suitable for agriculture isn’t going to be able to run many cattle.  And as you note, if you have to feed up the cattle before slaughter with food humans could have eaten, you’ve lost much of the benefit.
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Re: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?
« Reply #53 on: February 02, 2019, 05:27:51 pm »
The 10:1 figure is for cows. I think pigs are 5:1 and chickens are 3:1. I don’t remember where dairy falls in that. Bugs have the best ratio of all. That’s for converting plant protein to animal protein. I’ve never seen figures for calories, but the conservation of energy and the inability for any system to be 100% efficient, and the fact that animals are quite inefficient, means that conversion rates for calories will be poor. But where it really gets scary is water use, where for cows it’s something like 100:1. I don’t know the number for other animals.

Citation needed. What are you comparing with those numbers?

Not all crops produce the same amount of calories for the same energy input. And is that pastured beef or grain fed?

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Because animals need to eat plants, they will always be grossly more inefficient at producing nutrition for people than if we ate the plants ourselves. The only time it makes any kind of environmental sense to eat meat is when the animals are raised on pasture on land that cannot be used to grow food suitable for human consumption. I.e., land that can produce grass or hay but not grains or beans or fruits or vegetables. And that’s assuming the animals are not fed any corn or grains. And it’s also assuming that you don’t care about the cruelty of the slaughterhouse and the way the animals are raised.

Pigs, sheep, goats and poultry can also be fed food waste.

Pastured beef and other ruminants is better for many reasons.

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Re: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?
« Reply #54 on: February 02, 2019, 06:30:57 pm »
Pigs, sheep, goats and poultry can also be fed food waste.

Can be, yes. And in the days of small family farms, families kept a pig for just that reason. But that’s not done on an industrial scale, and could not be for reasons of sanitation. So if you have the space, and of course provided that you can stand the smell, or you have enough land that you can keep the pig far enough from your house, you could do this.

None of this is relevant to the question of how to feed seven and a half billion people in a manner that does not turn the Earth into Venus.
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Re: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?
« Reply #55 on: February 02, 2019, 07:08:35 pm »
Pigs, sheep, goats and poultry can also be fed food waste.

Can be, yes. And in the days of small family farms, families kept a pig for just that reason. But that’s not done on an industrial scale, and could not be for reasons of sanitation. So if you have the space, and of course provided that you can stand the smell, or you have enough land that you can keep the pig far enough from your house, you could do this.

Actually, there are efforts now to collect food waste from throughout the chain and repurpose it as feed on an industrial scale.
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Re: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?
« Reply #56 on: February 02, 2019, 07:08:49 pm »
CarbShark,

You’re quibbling about the exact figure that animal-based food is more inefficient in producing nutrition - whether calories, protein, vitamins, fats, carbohydrates, or whatever - than plant-based foods.  It varies according to the animal and the method of raising them.  No one disputes that.

Agreed - pigs, sheep, goats and poultry can be fed food waste.  But not economically.  Unless you have the food processing factories on the farms.  Transporting food to the cities, and then collecting the waste and sending it back to the farm would take a lot of effort, time and energy.

You’re not going to feed an increasing world population on a largely animal-based food diet, let alone your low carbohydrate/high fat ketogenic diet.  They’re not sustainable.
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Re: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?
« Reply #57 on: February 02, 2019, 07:22:57 pm »
None of this is relevant to the question of how to feed seven and a half billion people in a manner that does not turn the Earth into Venus.

We actually have a pretty large capacity to grow more food. The real issue is making it economical to distribute globally.

To key expand global agricultural production is water. The difference between arable and non-arable land is water. Nothing else.

If want to save the world (I'm talking to you, Elon Musk) you would do two things: Develop an efficient large scale desalination system to turn seawater into fresh water; Use your boring machines to cut 10s of thousands of miles of tunnels to carry pumped water throughout the west (in the US) and the same in other dry areas throughout the world. 

The outback could become a lush garden.
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Re: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?
« Reply #58 on: February 02, 2019, 07:36:49 pm »
None of this is relevant to the question of how to feed seven and a half billion people in a manner that does not turn the Earth into Venus.

We actually have a pretty large capacity to grow more food. The real issue is making it economical to distribute globally.

To key expand global agricultural production is water. The difference between arable and non-arable land is water. Nothing else.

If want to save the world (I'm talking to you, Elon Musk) you would do two things: Develop an efficient large scale desalination system to turn seawater into fresh water; Use your boring machines to cut 10s of thousands of miles of tunnels to carry pumped water throughout the west (in the US) and the same in other dry areas throughout the world. 

The outback could become a lush garden.

A lot of food is wasted.

http://wrap.s3.amazonaws.com/the-food-we-waste.pdf

Reducing the amount of food wasted would feed a lot of people (and also take away the possibility of converting food waste into animal feed industrially).

I’m bemused that food waste is so high.  The only food waste I produce are banana skins.  Everything else I eat, including carrot skins (and the leftover pith after making my daily carrot juice) and apple cores.

What do you mean by ‘outback?’  The only use I know of it is the Australian desert and semidesert, which could never been transformed into a lush garden with increased water.  The soil is just too poor, requirering a lot of fertiliser to grow crops.
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Re: Is halloumi preferable to meat when it comes to health and climate change?
« Reply #59 on: February 02, 2019, 09:19:49 pm »
What do you mean by ‘outback?’  The only use I know of it is the Australian desert and semidesert, which could never been transformed into a lush garden with increased water.  The soil is just too poor, requirering a lot of fertiliser to grow crops.


Yes. The only reason the soil is poor is because too little grows there. The only reason too little grows there is because there's not enough water.

To turn the outback into a lush garden, just add water.  Growth would start with brush and grasses that would feed ruminants, and gradually build up top soil to develop pastures.

But, as you say, with fertilizer, you could grow crops right away. Fertilizer is easy.
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