In the wealthy countries, high-quality proteins are produced in concentrated form and to this end, animals are used as virtual factories. But it is not necessary to eat meat, eggs or dairy products to stay healthy.
The Japanese get a large percentage of their proteins from soya beans and other vegetables. Some primitive tribes are eating leaves, berries, insects and even clays, all of which are rich in nutrients.
But countries specializing in agricultural products for export to world markets are facing a dreadful monotony in their diets, which dangerously affects their health.
For example, some parts of Latin America produce almost nothing but coffee, while others grow mainly bananas or sugar cane. In many Central American nations, governmental policies have encouraged the production of cash crops like cotton, at the expense of food crops. Many Central Americans' diet, mainly consisting of corn and beans, is so deficient in certain amino acids that it accounts for much of the traditional lethargy of the people there. Central Americans also suffer from a shortage of proteins, minerals and vitamins leading to severe illnesses such as pernicious anaemia.