Home » Are we sure we are eating the right way? What is hidden hunger and why is it a tragedy for 2 billion people – Turin News

Are we sure we are eating the right way? What is hidden hunger and why is it a tragedy for 2 billion people – Turin News

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Are we sure we are eating the right way?  What is hidden hunger and why is it a tragedy for 2 billion people – Turin News

Hidden Hunger: The Global Issue Impacting 2 Billion People

Our body has fundamental needs for its functioning and the lack of elements sets off alarm bells: the feeling of hunger is one of these, it is the body that asks for the necessary components. A primary need, which in many parts of the world is a luxury, we know it well. But could we ever think that the problem of hunger is not only in the third world but also exists, in different forms, in our society? Is called “hidden hunger”. And could we ever think that to solve it, rather than medicine, we turn to economic and engineering models? Let’s try to understand better.

A drama for 2 billion people

Approximately 2 billion people worldwide suffer from so-called “hidden hunger”, a form of malnutrition in which individuals lack micronutrients essential even if they consume an apparently adequate amount of calories. And our body does not react to this lack with that stimulus that we know well: the indicator of the deficiency is, too often, the onset of a disease, such as spina bifida, iron deficiency and anemia.

What are micronutrients

The elements that the human body needs to function are: oxygen, water, macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are: fats, carbohydrates, proteins. Micronutrients are: vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, probiotics, enzymes, antioxidants.

The combination of micro and macronutrients is different for each organism and in the different phases of its existence. If the total lack of food kills us in a short time and that of oxygen in a few minutes, the lack of micronutrients can cause serious damage over several years. Why it weakens the immune system and makes the body more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses: the lack of micronutrients is considered one of the components of the spread of Spanish flu at the beginning of the 20th century.

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The Missouri researcher

“When we talk about hunger, we are usually talking about chronic hunger, but hidden hunger is much more dangerous. If we don’t have enough micronutrients, our body is unable to absorb the necessary nutrients. This can create a snowball effect, leading to serious health problems.” These are the doctor’s words Kiruba Krishnaswamy researcher at the University of Missouri, reported by the Gea agency.

The doctor, with grants for a five-year plan, is working on the development of a different food model from the current one – even in the so-called “first world” – which is based not only on the adequate availability of food, but on its quality. “Food is a fundamental and universal human right” she explains.

The circular food system

The project that the researcher is developing incorporates engineering innovations in the creation of a model of circular food system culturally appropriate, a sustainable alternative to the current linear food system that “is more about quantity or production,” so much so that sometimes it is quality that pays the highest price. In short, “empty” calories are consumed. By making the system more circular, however, we adapt the solutions to the specific needs of individual communities and everyone can benefit from nutritious food in greater quantities. Hence the need to review economic and productive models starting with agriculture, and to integrate everything in a search for sustainability.

His project starts from the study of food sovereignty, based on traditional and ecologically sustainable agricultural practices to investigate specific interactions in the soil-water-plant-food-people chain so as to identify micronutrient deficiencies and inform targeted interventions. But not only. Dr Krishnaswamy aims to explore sustainable food process engineering strategies to improve the nutrition, accessibility and availability of traditional foods. “Undernutrition and obesity are what we call the double burden of malnutrition, because people they eat food, but do not receive the right amount of nutrition” says Krishnaswamy. “Recent studies have found that micronutrients are a common connector between these two problems.”

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