cover of book
 

Diet for a Large Planet: Industrial Britain, Food Systems, and World Ecology
by Chris Otter
University of Chicago Press, 2020
eISBN: 978-0-226-70596-5 | Cloth: 978-0-226-69710-9
Library of Congress Classification TX360.G7O88 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 363.80941

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
We are facing a world food crisis of unparalleled proportions. Our reliance on unsustainable dietary choices and agricultural systems is causing problems both for human health and the health of our planet. Solutions from lab-grown food to vegan diets to strictly local food consumption are often discussed, but a central question remains: how did we get to this point?

In Diet for a Large Planet, Chris Otter goes back to the late eighteenth century in Britain, where the diet heavy in meat, wheat, and sugar was developing. As Britain underwent steady growth, urbanization, industrialization, and economic expansion, the nation altered its food choices, shifting away from locally produced plant-based nutrition. This new diet, rich in animal proteins and refined carbohydrates, made people taller and stronger, but it led to new types of health problems. Its production also relied on far greater acreage than Britain itself, forcing the nation to become more dependent on global resources. Otter shows how this issue expands beyond Britain, looking at the global effects of large agro-food systems that require more resources than our planet can sustain. This comprehensive history helps us understand how the British played a significant role in making red meat, white bread, and sugar the diet of choice—linked to wealth, luxury, and power—and shows how dietary choices connect to the pressing issues of climate change and food supply.
 
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