Spring 2022 Nutrition Semester Exam Solutions – Swansea University
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Briefly Discuss the Ancient World’s Nutrition Picture
Perhaps there was a time when humanity existed in luxuriant gardens of Eden, plucking delicious fruit here and there: but one wonders. The human digestive system can never have had an easy time. Instead, subjected to trial and error, it must have been the steady recipient of good and bad, of beneficial and dis- Astros. Countless unsung heroes of the past must have noised it abroad, painfully, that deadly nightshade berries, henbane, wild hyacinth, bluebell, death cap toadstool, monkshood (wolf's bane), water dropwort roots, cowbane roots, yew berries, ivy leaves, and fresh anemone were not for eating.
Other heroes, having gobbled gristle greedily from some freshly hunted creature, must have come up with the idea of roasting or boiling food to render it more digestible. Still, others must have realized that fat, by boiling at a higher temperature than water, can break down food more effectively.
Even had they been presented with a Garden of Eden stripped of all poisons, one suspects that our human ancestors would not have been content with the dull diurnal round of fruit-gathering. For one thing, virtually every tribal group in the world has known how to make alcohol. For another, few people just pluck fruit and harvest nuts; they do things to the food, chop it up, store it, preserve it, flavor and pickle it, and let it rot to the right degree of putrefaction. They want variety, they want the exotic and the rare, the strong-tasting and the rich. The human digestive system, ably equipped with enzymes, has just had to cope with the very mixed assortment of commodities sent down to the stomach in each oesophageal bolus.
Nowadays, such naturalness as ever existed is being diminished still further. Take this declared analysis of a particular biscuit: 'Wheat flour, processed Cheddar cheese solids, cotton seed, and soya oil, non-fat milk solids, corn flour, cheese flavor, artificial flavor, salt, sugar, mono- and di-glycerides, egg yolk, baking soda, mono-sodium glutamate, butylated hydroxyanisole, butylated hydroxytoluene, certified color, propyl gallate.
" Standard flavorings, although kept under constant vigilance by the Food Standards Committee, still sound unpleasant: popular ones include Tartrazine, Ponceau MX, Ponceau 4R, Red 10B, and Amaranth. Ponceau 3R, found to act as a carcinogen in rats, was recommended for withdrawal by the Committee not so long ago. However, neither food adulteration nor coloring is new.
Briefly Analyze Britain’s Nutrition Evolution
Think of saffron, turmeric, cochineal, and carmine. Today's average Britons spend about a quarter of their disposable income on foods (plus another £100 million on pet foods, a sum and a quantity of nourishment that would keep large sections of Africa's Sahel amply supplied).
Not only are they spending more on food than a few years ago, but they are spending a greater proportion of their actual income on it. A typical Englishman eats 3 lbs. 5 oz. (1.5 kgs.) of potatoes a week, 18 ½ ) ozs. (524 gms.) of sugar (plus jams and other preserves), 4 eggs, 2 oz. (56 gms.) of sausages, 1 ½ oz. (42 gms.) of fresh fish, 2 lbs. 11 oz. (1-2 kgs.) of bread (it was 4 lbs. (1-8 kgs.) in 1950), 5 oz. (142 gms.) of biscuits, 3 ozs. (85 gms.) of tea and much else besides. The average diet more than meets the nutritional standards set by the British Medical Association, although by no means does every individual eat adequately.
A major victory of World War Two was the satisfactory nourishment of the British people and the distribution of a food supply that had much to be said for it medically over today's excesses. Food rationing began in January 1940; and eighteen months later, when at its most severe, the weekly allowance for each civilian adult was 4 ozs. (113 gms.) bacon or ham, 8 ozs. (227 gms.) sugar, 2 ozs. (57 gms.) tea, 8 ozs. (227 gms.) fat (of which only 2 oz. (57 gms.) were butter), 2 oz. (57 gms.) jam, 1 oz. (28 gms.) cheese, and a shilling's worth of meat. At least the food bills were also low: that weekly supply, including the meat, cost 2s. 7d. (or 13 pence in today's decimal currency.
Even with the rise in food prices since then the wartime bill would, in 1984, still be cheap and amount to £1.03). In addition, there was a modest supply of milk (with priority for children and expectant mothers), roughly one egg a week, and tinned meats and fish, although such desirable extras were included in a 'points' system of rationing which everyone to select his or her preferences, provided these were available and the ration-book still had sufficient unused points.
Discuss The Current World’s Nutrition Picture
Nevertheless, many a dietitian would long for Britain to be restricted to war-time food supplies were such an enforced method of national abstinence feasible. Globally, today's food picture is both unsatisfactory and obscure. Whereas many Europeans eat too much, and the Americans, in particular, carry so much of their food surplus around with them (Hugh Sinclair has calculated this transported excess to be 2 million tons of fat), there is great under-nourishment in the world; but there is also great uncertainty about the extent of this lack.
The traditional figure, still quoted, is that two-thirds of the world are suffering from malnutrition or hunger. In 1964, Colin Clark, director of the Agricultural Economics Research Institute at Oxford said, 'This extraordinary misstatement... is believed by almost everyone, because they have heard it so often'. It was first made in 1950 by Lord Boyd Orr, formerly director-general of the Food and Agricultural Organisation, a body once described by the Economist as 'a permanent institution devoted to proving that there is not enough food in the world'. Colin Clark drew attention at a Ciba symposium on the subject - to the estimate given in May by Dr. Sukhatme, F.A.O.'s director of statistics, that 10% to 15% of the world's people were hungry.
At any one time a proportion of that percentage must be starving, in that hunger must mean inadequate intake. Such a life-style will inevitably lead to starvation if excessively pro- longed. And, if starvation is itself prolonged, death is equally inevitable, mainly among the youngest and oldest who are least able to cope with lack. How many people are actually on this downhill path at any one time is difficult to assess, even in the 1980s when the world is more acutely aware of this problem and when the 'aid' agencies are more active than ever before. Some people starve on an annual basis, always hungry for a season of the year.
Others starve on a ten-year or so basis, suffering whenever rainfall is slightly (or not so slightly) less than average. The greatest starvations, as in the Sahel in 1983 and Ethiopia in 1984, tend to acquire publicity, and the rest of the world then hurries (usually) to make amends, as if starvation has come suddenly, like earthquakes or a tidal wave. An important factor is that many people live (having nowhere else to go) where people should not live, and where the smallest shift in climate brings disaster. Worse still, according to Professor Jack Mabbutt of New South Wales, the whole of the earth's sub-humid tropical region is liable to become desert. This area is currently the home of 850 million people or 20% of the total population.
Of course, people can be eating substantially but be malnourished at the same time. Accurate estimates of the extent of poor nourishment are hard to make, for adequate nourishment depends on ambient temperature, sex, body weight, pregnancy, lactation, exercise, and work.
Which Conclusions Can You Make from Your Discussion Above?
Three generalizations are possible. Firstly, scientific estimates of human calorific requirements have been falling in recent decades; the original calculations put our needs too high. Secondly, world food production is keeping pace with population growth, and looks like doing so — or doing even better – for quite a time. Thirdly, the existence of hungry or even starving people in the world is poor distribution rather than any general planetary lack. (On a clear day,' said a cartoon figure in The Times who had just climbed to the top of Europe's butter mountain, 'you can see Ethiopia.) And fourthly, all manner of people will inevitably continue to reiterate that two-thirds of the world are suffering from malnutrition or hunger. Whatever the actual fraction of people who would like to eat more, there is a big fraction constantly trying to eat less. Diets abound, and for every scheme, however ridiculous, there are loyal devotees: nuts at night-time, no fats, lots of nibbles, no nibbles. Prescription slimming drugs sold in the United States doubled between 1960 and 1965 alone. Stipulated low-calorie foods quintupled their sales in the same five-year period. Low-calorie foods are still marching forward in their sales. Items proudly proclaim either one calorie or no calories whatsoever. It is bizarre that some of mankind now grabs at tins asserting their nutritional pointlessness, while so many are dying from a lack of calories; but at least the eating nations are trying to trim their appetites. In the United States the annual per capita consumption of all foods is down 197 lbs. (89.4 kgs.) from the 1909 figure, the year totals of this kind were begun.
What Is the Importance of Nutrition in Animals?
For every living creature food has a two-fold purpose. It must supply the raw materials for the construction or replacement of human tissue, and it must act as fuel for supplying energy to the body. Generally speaking, the first purpose requires the intake of quite a small number of basic substances, and the second requires the intake of sufficient calories. It is possible to eat more than enough calories, and still die owing to the lack of some essential substance. It is equally possible to ingest a fully representative tally of essential nutrients but to die owing to an insufficiency in the total bulk and a lack of calories necessary for the maintenance of life.
Nutritional needs are also a compromise, for any given species, of what is available, what can be digested, and what can be manufactured against what is required. Chemically, a zebra and a lion, and a vulture would yield similar analyses, but the zebra lives on grass, the lion can live on zebras, and vultures can live on the decaying corpses of both of them. They all have similar requirements, but they attain them differently. The zebra is making grass fit for lions to eat, the lion is producing meat fit for vultures to eat, and all three are producing flesh fit for the bacteria to consume, eventually.