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Author Topic: Future complete nourishment contained in concentrated form?  (Read 2770 times)

Offline _Stefan_

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Could all our nutritional needs be concentrated into pills/powder/liquid/paste etc, thereby eliminating the need to eat real/normal food?

What would be involved in producing these concentrations? Can the compounds required for proper human functioning be produced entirely in the laboratory, i.e. without harvesting/extracting from other organisms?
How economically viable would this be, and how many pills would one person need to consume daily?

I think that even if it became possible to survive solely on concentrated substances, our digestive systems wouldn't be able to absorb them efficiently, and might suffer without a filling material... even if the gastrointestinal tract doesn't digest itself, you'd always be hungry.

What are your thoughts about this?


 

Offline Bored chemist

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Future complete nourishment contained in concentrated form?
« Reply #1 on: 27/06/2007 11:03:19 »
Since you would still need to consume enough water to compensate for evaporation and excretion, there wouldn't be much point in shrinking food. Also, to get enough energy would take a significant volume of food.
Between those two points anf the fact that low fibre diets are known to be associated with poor health I don't see any point to trying to do this.
 

Offline iko

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Future complete nourishment contained in concentrated form?
« Reply #2 on: 27/06/2007 11:08:05 »
Hi Stefan,

of course we can survive with concentrated food, think of parenteral nutrition, where a special nutritional sterile solution is administred through our veins when we are in comatous state or we cannot use gastrointestinal tract for surviving.
This can be done for months and years, without major nutritional problems.
Concentrated food may give some troubles to our guts, but we seem to adapt easily to this condition.
It is obviously important to get EVERYTHING our body needs in the long run: sugars, fat, proteins and cofactors (vitamins and minerals).
Any mistake in this 'recipe' can have a very high price.
Enjoy reading

ikod

Severe lactic acidosis and thiamine deficiency during total parenteral nutrition--case report.

Cho YP, Kim K, Han MS, Jang HJ, Kim JS, Kim YH, Lee SG.Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan Medical College, Gangneung Asan Hospital, Gangneung-Si, Gangwon-do, Republic of Korea. ypcho@knh.co.kr

We encountered a case of total parenteral nutrition-associated lactic acidosis that did not respond to sodium bicarbonate or other conventional emergency treatments. He was characterized by minimal food intake before surgery, delayed gastric emptying after pylorus-preserving pancreatoduodenectomy due to pancreas head cancer and long-term total parenteral nutrition without food intake and vitamin supplements after surgery. After thiamine administration, the patient very quickly recovered with dramatic reestablishment of the acid-base balance. We emphasize the need to supplement total parenteral nutrition with thiamine-containing vitamins for the patients whose food intake does not meet nutritional requirements and to intravenously replenish using high-dose thiamine simultaneously with the manifestation of signs and symptoms of severe lactic acidosis with unknown cause. In conclusion, thiamine deficiency should be included in the differential diagnosis of lactic acidosis for the patients who received total parenteral nutrition without food intake and vitamin supplements.

Hepatogastroenterology. 2004 Jan-Feb;51(55):253-5.




...never forget thiamine: little storage, two weeks to go empty.
BTW thiamine is vitamin B1 and we need it to survive.

 
« Last Edit: 27/06/2007 13:09:53 by iko »
 

another_someone

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Future complete nourishment contained in concentrated form?
« Reply #3 on: 27/06/2007 22:10:51 »
Since you would still need to consume enough water to compensate for evaporation and excretion, there wouldn't be much point in shrinking food. Also, to get enough energy would take a significant volume of food.
Between those two points anf the fact that low fibre diets are known to be associated with poor health I don't see any point to trying to do this.

In the long term, I can see much logic in following this path, although we would not be talking about pills as such, but totally synthetic food, yes.

Synthesising food, if you can get it right, can give you much stricter quality control (control of infection, consistency of product, etc.) than you ever could by growing living food.  Also, other life (such as cows or wheat) has developed for its own survival, and not as a foodstuff for us.  Although over the millennia we have modified these life forms to improve its capability to feed us, but it still carried the heritage of an independent life form.  Growing tissue cultures in a factory could be a far more efficient way of creating meat, and discarding all the bits of the animal that don't serve the food industry.

Ofcourse, there are also those who might argue on moral grounds that eating living things is immoral, and so eating synthetic food might even be seen by some as morally more acceptable.
 

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Future complete nourishment contained in concentrated form?
« Reply #3 on: 27/06/2007 22:10:51 »

 

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