From farm to fat cell: why aren’t we all fat?

Published:October 21, 2014DOI:
      From farm to fat cell describes the transfer of energy from food producers to consumers that has led to obesity in many people. “Hardly any food is eaten as it comes from the fields. Even farmers purchase most of their food from markets in town” [
      • Steinhart J.S.
      • Steinhart C.E.
      Energy use in the U.S. food system.
      ] Between 1965 and 2000 global agricultural production doubled, [
      • Woods J.
      • Williams A.
      • Hughes J.K.
      • Black M.
      • Murphy R.
      Energy and the food system.
      ] and farms in the United States and around the world are producing somewhat more food than the population requires. This is shown in Fig. 1 using data for per capita food production (USDA) in the lower left panel and per capita intake in both industrialized and developing countries in the bottom right panel. This food is transferred through the food production system and converted into tasty, convenient and low cost foods that help move the excess carbon production in food from the farm into the fat cell triglycerides of human beings [
      • Moss M.
      Salt, sugar, fat: how the food giants hooked us.
      ]. Alternative sources of disposal for this excess production would be through more biofuel, or more food from meat which converts only part of the energy in plants into food for human consumption.
      Figure thumbnail gr1
      Fig. 1From farm to fat cell. This diagram illustrates the dilemma of excess carbon production from farms and fishing where the principal storage form for that carbon is the human fat cell.
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