Home > Application, Challenge > Comprehensive Calorie Counting

Comprehensive Calorie Counting

There’s an interesting op-ed in the NYT about how mathematics is used to put food production and consumption into context:


For example, we can measure food transportation costs in calories (as a calorie is, indeed, a unit of energy), and so we can look at production and transportation costs of certain foods and compare them to the calorie content of the food itself.  For example, it takes about 5000 calories to produce a 100-calorie head of lettuce.

The author’s intent is to poke holes in some of the common arguments used by proponents of “eating local”:  Transportation costs for most foods are neglible compared to household storage and preparation costs, says the author, thus “eating local” is not an especially eco-friendly strategy.  However, the author hilmself makes a number of weak and erroneous arguments, comparing “apples to rocks” in some cases.

The piece offers some interesting mathematical ideas and a good critical reading exercise.

Click here to see more in Application.


  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: