Food production is one of the main causes of climate change today. That is why the search for new sources of food that can saturate the planet and at the same time not overload it is so important. In a new meta-study, Professor Mouritsen and doctoral student Charlotte Winter present alternative sources of protein for humans. Their results are published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
More and more people are choosing to become vegetarian or, more radically, vegan.
However, according to Professor Ole G. Mouritsen of the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen, the vast majority of people find it difficult to completely remove meat from the shelf in order to prevent climate change.
“Many people just long for the umami taste that can be found in meat, for example. Therefore, it may be more realistic to consider a flexible diet where a person consumes small amounts of animal products such as meat, eggs and milk, as well as vegetables. Nevertheless, you can already think about alternatives to a juicy steak, of which there are actually many, ”explains the professor.
In a new meta-study, Professor Mouritsen and Ph.D. The student Charlotte Winter, his scholarship holder at the Faculty of Nutrition, presents alternative sources of protein and healthy fatty acids as well as her vision of what sustainable nutrition could look like in the future.
Among other things, the researchers recommend looking for “products of the future” in the sea.
In particular, we need to find species that live on the bottom and focus on bycatch (which accidentally fall into the nets), scientists are certain. They emit much less CO2 than beef, pork and chicken.
“The environmentally friendly bycatch fish that are currently used to feed pigs or obtain fish oil live on the ocean floor. These include: gerbils – fish that dig in the sandy bottom to lay eggs; The sprat is a relative of the widespread herring and the black mouth gobi, another small but tasty and forgotten fish, ”explains Mouritsen.
Sprat alone can meet 20% of Danish protein needs. “And by catching sprats, we can avoid the more well-known fish species such as cod, flounder and salmon from being overfished,” explains the professor.
Seaweed is also an extremely climate-friendly food source. However, currently only 500 species out of 10,000 are used and recognized for food, despite the fact that seaweed is rich in incredibly beneficial nutrients and vitamins.
Likewise, cephalopods are only marginally harvested: 30 of around 800 species are used for food worldwide.
“It has a lot to do with our culture and our traditions, among other things. It will take time to change your eating habits. We have eaten and cooked meat for over a million years. Although seaweed, squid and shellfish contain important fatty acids and vitamins and taste good, we still hesitate to consider these species as our food source, ”explains Ole G. Mouritsen.
For example, fermenting vegetables or adding enzymes can bring out the taste of sweet and umami, says Ole G. Mouritsen.
"It is important that we keep communicating these new dietary options. In this way we will gradually change our eating habits and traditions. We hope that this study plays a role," the professor concludes.