Food Inventions: The Best of 2013… So Far
2013 has only just hit the halfway point and already this has been a dynamic year for nutrition and public health. Fast-food joints are now being required to post calories. Mayor Bloomberg banned restaurants and other dining establishments from selling sodas more than 16 ounces. The USDA has announced a plan to overhaul the snacks served in schools.
And now there is another level—a place where nutrition, environment, and animals collide. A number of intrepid researchers have been firing up their Bunsen burners and securing their safety goggles in an effort to create the latest and greatest food inventions—meatless meat and eggless eggs. This could overhaul the food industry, and be a tremendous benefit to animals and the environment.
Hampton Creek Foods in San Francisco has solved the age-old riddle: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
The answer: Trick question. Neither of them is here.
They’ve developed a new eggless egg product made from plant-based ingredients. By taking animal products out of the equation, an entirely plant-based egg replacement product will have less cholesterol than the standard egg.
With the global demand for eggs expected to reach 38 million tons by 2030, inventor and philanthropist Bill Gates’ growing concern for the environment led him to invest in Hampton Creek Foods. Because the only way to have an entirely sustainable “egg”—is by eliminating the chicken, environmental degradation, and cholesterol.
Scientists have found a way to grow meat from cell cultures in laboratory test tubes. In-vitro meat eliminates environmental and ethical concerns regarding meat consumption, and it also gives an opportunity to turn meat into something it is not: a healthful food. Just 4 ounces of typical beef has 100 milligrams of cholesterol. Meat also completely lacks fiber, an important nutrient for both digestion and cancer prevention. Studies have repeatedly shown that eating meat can result in an increased risk of death, certain cancers, and even diabetes—but, in theory, in-vitro meat may be able to change this by minimizing fat and cholesterol, and incorporating fiber from legumes or other healthful nutrients.
Needless to say, if researchers do manage to create more healthful in-vitro meat products, it is imperative to still eat the already natural and sustainable nutrient sources that are naturally healthful: fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.