by Ben Nuelle
When most people talk about feeding the world they often forget to consider certain types of food. Animal source foods such as livestock are unique in their ability to supply critical nutrients for growth.
Dr. Gbola Adesogan is Director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock systems at the University of Florida.
“Animal-source foods provide key nutrients. Things like vitamin B12 which is critical for brain function but is lacking in plants except for Algae. It also supplies Vitamin A which is important for vision and immunity. Zinc which is critical for over 300 reactions in the body and also Iron. The iron in animal-source food is more available than plant-source foods.”
One the main ways malnutrition is monitored around the world is measuring stunting.
If a child is stunted by the age of two, according to Adesogan, the child has suffered almost irreversible brain damage.
“In addition to that, the essential amino acid profile of animal-source foods is much higher than that of plant-source foods. There is an increasing school of thought right now that this may be one of the reasons why stunting has been so prevalent in developing countries because of the lack of animal-source foods in their diets,” Adesogan says.
Adesogan says in the next 20 years there will be increased demand for animal-source foods in Asia and Africa.