Food waste is a known problem throughout America. But, do we really understand just how big of a problem it is?
USA Today reports that Americans throw away billions of pounds of food each year, which amounts to enough food to feed millions of people. One Johns Hopkins University researcher even said that the amount of food we've wasted could provide a 2,000-calorie diet to 84 percent of the world's population. That is staggering information.
In the YouTube video below, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future explain what this means as far as how many nutrients are being wasted.
I don't know about you, but the idea that we could be feeding 74 million women of the world their recommended fiber intake with just what we throw away leaves me feeling a little guilty. It also has me wondering how nutritious the food items are that we're actually eating. If most of what we throw away is highly nutritious, that must mean that what we are eating is not.
"Wasted food is a very serious issue at this point," said Roni Neff, a program director at the Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future. "We're throwing away so much money and so many resources and so much potential nutrients that can make our lives better."
This is a sad truth and a hard pill to swallow for many of us. It's likely the fact that food is relatively easy to come by in this country that makes it so easy for us to throw it away without a second thought. We should really stop and think, though, about those nutrients that the majority of the population is thought to be missing out on. Dietary fiber, for example, or potassium, or vitamins A and D? Even I know I don't get enough vitamin D. Potassium is in bananas, though, and vitamin A is in lots of veggies, which means those are things we're probably tossing out the most.
If anything, this study tells us to be more conscious and aware of what we are throwing away. Not only is it money, but it's nutrients that we need!