An Intriguing Theory of How Crop Maximization Can Lead to UnHealthy Food
Scientists predicted this problem in the 1930’s and 40’s. This includes Professor William Albrecht at the University of Missouri.
“He said when you turn to focus on the economics, as he knew was coming, with the chemical fertilizers and pesticides and things of that nature – he said what you will end up with is you select crops for the maximum yield rather than the quality. And what you end up with in crops with maximum yield is crops that are higher in those nutrients that come from the air – carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen. And he says, they will be deficient in those essential nutrients that come from the soil, because that will be the nutrients that limit production, whereas those that come from the air are basically limitless. If you think about that, what is coming from the air is carbohydrates – carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. And so you end up with crops that are high in carbohydrates, high in sugar and high in calories, and lacking in some of the essential nutrients. That was his hypothesis.
That is what you will end up doing. People will end up over-eating in the calories. You’ll have crops that are too high in calories relative to those essential nutrients. And [people] will overeat on the calories in the process of trying to get enough of those limited nutrients that come from the soil.”