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Author Topic: Could we live by eating only a single food product?  (Read 3615 times)

Offline dentstudent

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Cows and sheep eat only grass - ok, their system is a little different to ours, but hypothetically and without taking supplements, could we eat only one type of food and live?


 

Offline Karen W.

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Could we live by eating only a single food product?
« Reply #1 on: 27/06/2007 08:45:40 »
 I have heard this question and somewhere in the bible it refers to Manna as being a food item that they survived on for a long time. The details I do not recall and there was huge discussions at church at the time as they all tried to figure out exactly what this Manna was that was brought into the homes to sustain them during times of extreme starvation..
 

another_someone

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Could we live by eating only a single food product?
« Reply #2 on: 27/06/2007 08:59:14 »
Live for how long?

We could certainly live a short while like so, and none of us are immortal (and both statements are true of cattle and sheep).

Cattle and sheep (and most herbivores) have bacteria, and other means, to obtain more food from grass than we could.  I suppose one analogy would be that cattle feed the grass to bacteria in their intestines, which then extracts the nutrients which help the cow survive.  We feed the grass to cows (who are feeding it to their bacteria) which then extracts the nutrients that when we feed of the cattle we can then survive.  So, I suppose the difference is that we externalise what a cow internalises.

The other difference is that we have a very greedy organ, a massive brain, that needs far more nourishment than the counterpart in a cow; so we have discarded (or, more accurately, outsourced) many of the inefficient parts of the process of obtaining nutrients (i.e. let the cow chew the cud, and spend all its life doing that, and so concentrating all of the goodness from that, and thus allow us to obtain more concentrated nutrients from the cows flesh, while allowing us also to obtain benefit from the more highly concentrated and digestible vegetable matter, such as fruits.
« Last Edit: 27/06/2007 09:05:15 by another_someone »
 

Offline dentstudent

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Could we live by eating only a single food product?
« Reply #3 on: 27/06/2007 09:56:33 »
Live for how long?

We could certainly live a short while like so, and none of us are immortal (and both statements are true of cattle and sheep).

Cattle and sheep (and most herbivores) have bacteria, and other means, to obtain more food from grass than we could.  I suppose one analogy would be that cattle feed the grass to bacteria in their intestines, which then extracts the nutrients which help the cow survive.  We feed the grass to cows (who are feeding it to their bacteria) which then extracts the nutrients that when we feed of the cattle we can then survive.  So, I suppose the difference is that we externalise what a cow internalises.

The other difference is that we have a very greedy organ, a massive brain, that needs far more nourishment than the counterpart in a cow; so we have discarded (or, more accurately, outsourced) many of the inefficient parts of the process of obtaining nutrients (i.e. let the cow chew the cud, and spend all its life doing that, and so concentrating all of the goodness from that, and thus allow us to obtain more concentrated nutrients from the cows flesh, while allowing us also to obtain benefit from the more highly concentrated and digestible vegetable matter, such as fruits.

That's a nice answer, thanks! When I say live, I mean in as close an approximation to normal life as would be possible.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Could we live by eating only a single food product?
« Reply #4 on: 27/06/2007 10:56:47 »
"could we eat only one type of food and live?"
For a while we do. It's called milk.
 

Offline dentstudent

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Could we live by eating only a single food product?
« Reply #5 on: 27/06/2007 11:04:25 »
"could we eat only one type of food and live?"
For a while we do. It's called milk.

Yes indeed!

How about meats? Don't carnivores get their vit C from eating offal?
 

paul.fr

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Could we live by eating only a single food product?
« Reply #6 on: 27/06/2007 16:33:47 »
Lots of our food is derived from corn, so we already are to a certain extent.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Could we live by eating only a single food product?
« Reply #7 on: 27/06/2007 19:21:40 »
Most carnivores (indeed most animals) can synthesise their own vitamin C, People generally get theirs from fruit and veg. I get mine from the supermarket in little bottles.
 

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Could we live by eating only a single food product?
« Reply #7 on: 27/06/2007 19:21:40 »

 

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