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Sun Apr 29, 2012, 08:26 AM

Itís official: China now eats twice the meat we do


from Grist:



Itís official: China now eats twice the meat we do
By Twilight Greenaway


If meat eating is a race, China is so far ahead of us we canít even see what color shorts itís wearing. Americans still eat about twice as much of the stuff on a per-person basis, but, well, China has a lot more people.

If you like geeking out about who eats what where and how it impacts the environment, you might enjoy spending some time with this very data-rich post about the recent doubling of Chinaís meat consumption from the Earth Policy Institute (EPI). But, for those who want a cheat sheet, Iíve collected what I think are some of the most memorable bits below.

First, take a look at this very telling chart, which shows plain and clear how fast things have been changing:



Where as Chinese diet has long centered around grains and vegetables (meat and eggs were more like a garnish), itís clear that pork, chicken, and fish have been taking up a much more substantial place in the national diet. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://grist.org/food/its-official-china-now-eats-twice-the-meat-we-do/



44 replies, 3823 views

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Reply Itís official: China now eats twice the meat we do (Original post)
marmar Apr 2012 OP
no_hypocrisy Apr 2012 #1
KansDem Apr 2012 #3
sadbear Apr 2012 #5
slackmaster Apr 2012 #9
Taitertots Apr 2012 #30
Gidney N Cloyd Apr 2012 #22
4th law of robotics May 2012 #40
2on2u Apr 2012 #2
quaker bill Apr 2012 #7
geckosfeet Apr 2012 #4
slackmaster Apr 2012 #6
Warren Stupidity Apr 2012 #12
slackmaster Apr 2012 #13
mzteris Apr 2012 #15
muriel_volestrangler Apr 2012 #17
mzteris Apr 2012 #18
muriel_volestrangler Apr 2012 #20
mzteris Apr 2012 #26
muriel_volestrangler Apr 2012 #28
mzteris Apr 2012 #33
muriel_volestrangler Apr 2012 #35
mzteris May 2012 #39
kestrel91316 Apr 2012 #23
Taitertots Apr 2012 #34
drokhole Apr 2012 #14
4th law of robotics May 2012 #41
quaker bill Apr 2012 #8
Warren Stupidity Apr 2012 #11
Posteritatis Apr 2012 #10
muriel_volestrangler Apr 2012 #16
tnvoter Apr 2012 #19
Quantess Apr 2012 #21
Pacafishmate Apr 2012 #38
4th law of robotics May 2012 #42
GaYellowDawg Apr 2012 #24
Zalatix Apr 2012 #31
Pacafishmate Apr 2012 #37
FarCenter Apr 2012 #25
redqueen Apr 2012 #27
FarCenter Apr 2012 #36
4th law of robotics May 2012 #43
apocalypsehow Apr 2012 #29
onehandle Apr 2012 #32
MineralMan May 2012 #44

Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 08:39 AM

1. The population will likely suffer more cardiovascular disease among other problems.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 08:55 AM

3. Really...

If I had money to invest, I'd invest in one of those mega-medical complexes in China. You know, the ones with dozens of offices and 15-20 doctors in each office. Mostly cardiologists, but related fields, too (diabetes specialists, for example). And labs...plenty of labs.

Then I'd learn Chinese. My first phrase will be:
I need your picture ID, insurance card, and co-pay, please!

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 09:14 AM

5. Don't they smoke A LOT more than we do, too?

Not to mention their non-existent environmental regulations.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 09:21 AM

9. Chinese life expectancy has increased dramatically since 1960.

 

They must be doing something right, including improved nutrition and health care.

http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/country-health-profile/china

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #9)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 07:05 PM

30. No, They were just doing things very wrong in the 1960's

Millions of people starved to death in famines during the 1960's.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 12:39 PM

22. Cheney's going to have to spend a lot more for his next new heart.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #1)

Sun May 6, 2012, 11:01 AM

40. Not due to this

 

1) they still aren't eating a whole lot of meat (they have more than 4 times our population).

2) their diet was heavily based on grains before. That is very unhealthy for humans (good for birds and cows though). It's not like they're giving up broccoli for mcnuggets.

3) any effect due to diet is going to be vastly overshadowed by their air-pollution and constant smoking.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 08:41 AM

2. We are gonna need a bigger

 

ocean.

http://www.vegsource.com/articles/pimentel_water.htm

March 1, 2001 -- To date, probably the most reliable and widely-accepted water estimate to produce a pound of beef is the figure of 2,500 gallons/pound. Newsweek once put it another way: "the water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer would float a destroyer."

Not surprisingly, the beef industry promotes a study that determined, using highly suspect calculations, that only 441 gallons of water are required to produce a pound of beef.

(The cattlemen's study applied liberal deductions from water actually used, reasoning that water was evaporated at points during the process, or was "returned" to the water table after being used to grow plant feed, or was returned to the water table via urea and excrement from cows. Thus, study authors reasoned these waters were not "lost" but "recycled" and therefore could be subtracted from gross amount of water actually used in beef production. Of course, evaporation and cow dung don't go very far in replenishing water pumped from acquifers which took thousands of years to fill. It's interesting to consider that if the same fuzzy math were applied to calculating how much water it takes to grow vegetables, potatoes would probably only require about 2 gallons of water per pound.)

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Response to 2on2u (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 09:18 AM

7. It is not like they destroy it

they just pollute it on the way through.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 09:09 AM

4. Must also consider the larger population. The chart is in absolute tonnage.

What is the meat consumption per person or per capita? That would be a more telling statistic. My guess is that farmers and peasants are still eating more rice than meat.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 09:16 AM

6. Meats provide high-quality protein. Increased per-capita meat consumption will be good for China.

 

Their per-capita consumption is still well below that of the USA.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:12 AM

12. No actually it won't be good for China, or for the planet.

But carry on.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #12)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:25 AM

13. In 1960 the life expectancy of a Chinese man was 35 years.

 

The Chinese weren't eating enough protein at the time.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #13)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 11:11 AM

15. Nice try, but no cigar,

They had plenty protein but they also had hard physical labor, little to nonexistent medical and dental care. And a regime that would kill you soon as look you.

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Response to mzteris (Reply #15)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 11:51 AM

17. They had very little protein in 1961

From the FAO figures for China, 1961:
Vegatal 36.7g
Animal 3.6g (includes dairy)
and 2007:
Vegetal 55.0g
Animal 33.9g

Compared with Japan (since Japan has the greatest life expectancy of any sizeable country in the world - this is the diet that achieved it):
1961:
Vegetal 49.3g
Animal 24.2g

1984:
Vegetal 41.3g
Animal 49.5g

2007
Vegetal 39.7g
Animal 52.0g

And USA, 2007:
Vegetal 40.5g
Animal 73.1g

That Chinese total for 1961 is below the recommended amount of protein for anyone over 14: http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html . And what's more, I think the FAO figures are before wastage - eg the American 2007 food supply per capita, per day figure is 3748 kcal, which is a lot to physically eat. They appear to have been calculated from production, import, export, and what was used for animal feed or seed - ie they're before wastage. Though I'd imagine very little was allowed to go to waste in China when food was so short.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #17)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 12:13 PM

18. Vegetal can and does

Provide plenty of protein. One does NOT have to eat meat to have more than enough protein in their diet.

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Response to mzteris (Reply #18)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 12:17 PM

20. And they weren't eating enough vegetal protein, as the figures show

Especially remembering that those are the average amounts of protein available for the whole country. Even if they shared it out evenly, they'd be undernourished.

Those were famine-level amounts of protein. Not surprising, since they were in a famine then.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #20)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 06:30 PM

26. did I miss something?

Where does it break down into protein? Vegetal or otherwise? You posted "meat" and "vegetal" - nothing at all about protein.

Granted I'm barely seeing out of one eye today, so I could've missed that particular figure. Could you point me to it directly?

And famine-level would affect everything - not just protein, now wouldn't it? It's kind of hard to equate "not eating enough" meat to "living through a famine". . . odd comparison.

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Response to mzteris (Reply #26)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 06:53 PM

28. Those are the figures for protein - vegetal, and animal, in grams per capita per day

(the link to the FAO database was in post #16 - http://faostat.fao.org/site/368/default.aspx ) , and the CDC figures are also in grams per capita per day. The Chinese averages were well below the CDC amounts.

It was lack of protein, not meat, that slackmaster pointed out, and which you claimed they were getting plenty of in 1960, in the middle of the Chinese famine. But their protein levels stayed low for some time beyond that - in 1970, 41.2g of vegetal protein, and 5.6g of animal protein - enough for an adult woman, but not a man. By 1980, they were up to 47.4g and 7.7g - just about enough for men too. If they were lucky, the inevitable variation in amount that each person got was made up for by the smaller needs of children. But really, the Chinese were undernourished until then. They did not have 'plenty of protein'.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #28)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 07:11 PM

33. so China's worst

during their famine was about 41.3% - below - but not greatly below, the average daily requirement of protein. And it was during a FAMINE.

That's your big "message"?

I also think maybe the figures for "protein needed" are based on "American bodies" - the average Chinese is - was - much smaller in build so probably required fewer overall calories and protein so you may well be comparing apples to oranges in the "needs" dept.

And as another poster pointed out, they survived and propagated wildly for thousands of years on that "diet". Seems to work for them.

I think you'll start to see the start of an obesity and diabetes and heart attack and stroke increases in China along with their increased "meat" consumption. That and the rapid growth of American fastfood chains.



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Response to mzteris (Reply #33)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 08:06 PM

35. No, my message is that you were wrong

If you consider that 'big', then that's fine by me. China did not have 'plenty of protein' in 1960; nor in the 2 decades afterwards. As I have said, the average has to be well above the minimum recommended amount to avoid malnutrition in the worst off parts of the population.

The average Chinese was smaller in build because many were malnourished.

That other poster never provided figures for the size of the Chinese diet over those thousands of years, nor for their health. You should not assume that conditions in the 1960s in China were better, especially per capita, than in previous years.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #35)

Sun May 6, 2012, 10:54 AM

39. The average Chinese NOW is STILL

smaller in build. And I'm pretty darn sure they're getting way more than enough protein now. And have been for several decades.

Of course many in the cities are getting a bit - er - rounder - but in the countryside, not so much. (I've been there, have you?)

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #13)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 12:51 PM

23. For a nation with inadequate protein consumption, they sure

managed to sustain and grow a huge population for THOUSANDS of years.

I read somewhere that if you are eating anything remotely approaching a balanced diet and also getting enough calories, then you automatically are getting enough protein. Something about vast amounts of free amino acids in foods (like fruits and veggies and grains) we don't consider protein sources.......

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #13)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 07:16 PM

34. Yeah, Maoist policies caused millions of people to starve

The problem was lack of food. The lack of protein is somewhat secondary when millions of people are starving.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #12)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 11:06 AM

14. Depends on how the meat is raised...

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #12)

Sun May 6, 2012, 11:03 AM

41. They will get to be healthier and live longer

 

so that's a plus.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 09:21 AM

8. about statistics

This is a gross total consumption metric. Since there are 4 times as many people in China, the per capita consumption is still far lower than the US.

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Response to quaker bill (Reply #8)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:11 AM

11. +1

Silly with numbers.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 09:57 AM

10. It's almost like their population is four times the United States' or something. (nt)

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 11:24 AM

16. Here's the database behind the statistics

http://www.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/psdQuery.aspx

if anyone wants to investigate. There isn't an overall 'meat' category; and neither 'sheep and goat' meat, nor fish of any type, seems to be included; but they do work out some per capita statistics.

There's also an FAO database here: http://faostat.fao.org/site/368/default.aspx

which does include lamb, fish, eggs etc. among the categories, but that only allows you to query one country or region and year at a time. But that does, for instance, allow the retrieval of the following meat "supply quantity" (ie consumption) per capita stats for 2007 (latest year available):

World 40.10 kg/cap/yr
USA 122.80
Western Europe 86.60
China 53.40

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 12:16 PM

19. I wonder what the per capita consumption is....

The Chinese probably still have a long way to go before they catch up with the U.S.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 12:18 PM

21. Gross!

Watch them all become obese, too.

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Response to Quantess (Reply #21)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:26 PM

38. As if you need meat to become obese.

 

It's more about portions than your " herp derp meat makes you fat" argument.

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Response to Quantess (Reply #21)

Sun May 6, 2012, 11:04 AM

42. Carbs are more the source of our obesity than fat/protein

 

of which the chinese were getting plenty.

Rice has a lot of energy but is very low in essential amino acids and minerals.

Meat has a lower caloric density and is rich in both.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 01:06 PM

24. Does this mean we can send PETA to China?

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Response to GaYellowDawg (Reply #24)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 07:06 PM

31. What's wrong with PETA?

 

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Response to Zalatix (Reply #31)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:25 PM

37. They're annoying.

 

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 01:36 PM

25. The per capita meat consumption in China is about 47% of the United States

2 * 311591917 / 1338299512 = 0.465653

Population data from Google.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #25)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 06:40 PM

27. Yep, about half, so the OP was correct. nt

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Response to redqueen (Reply #27)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:20 PM

36. A more accurate headline -- "Itís official: China now eats half as much meat as we do"

Since that is correct based on per capita consumption.

Also note that for the US, per capita consumption had been declining for the last few years.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #36)

Sun May 6, 2012, 11:05 AM

43. Well the title was accurate

 

yours would be better as "the chinese now eat half as much meat as americans".

The country of China is consuming twice what we do.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 06:57 PM

29. And?



Puzzling OP.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 07:07 PM

32. Meat is death. nt

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2012, 11:07 AM

44. Since those are not per capita figures,

it's sort of hard to interpret. Given the population differences between the two countries, I suspect that the per capita consumption of meat in the US is still much higher than in China.

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