How much food is needed to end world hunger?

In my book, Hunger Math, I calculate some very approximate values for the amounts of kcal, carbs, protein, and fat that would be needed to end world hunger. This analysis assumes a high estimate of 1 billion hungry persons (rather than the most recent FAO number of 868 million). It is based on a lengthy analysis of FAO data from various hungry nations.

These numbers are gauged so as to be very unlikely to underestimate, and much more likely to overestimate, the needs of undernourished populations in the world.

On a per person per year basis, the extra food needed is:
198,000 kcal of fat
77,000 kcal of protein
70,000 kcal of carbs
for a total of 345,000 kcal per person per year of additional macronutrients.

For one million persons per year, the values are:
1.98E+11 kcal from fat
(this notation means 1.98 times ten to the eleventh power)
7.70E+10 kcal from protein
7.00E+10 kcal from carbs
3.45E+11 total calories

For one billion persons per year, the values are:
1.98E+14 kcal from fat
7.70E+13 kcal from protein
7.00E+13 kcal from carbs
3.45E+14 total calories

So while one billion persons need a total of 1015 kcal per year, divided appropriately among fat, protein, and carbs, the one billion hungry need only 3.45 x 1014 additional kcal per year. Their current diets meet 65.5% of their total caloric needs. So the amount of food needed to end world hunger is only 34.5% of the total caloric needs of those one billion persons.

We can state the nutritional shortfall of the hungry in terms of weight, rather than calories. (One metric tonne is 1000 kilograms.)

For one million persons per year, the values are:
22,400 tonnes from fat
19,900 tonnes from protein
18,100 tonnes from carbs

For one billion persons per year, the values are:
22,400,000 tonnes from fat
19,900,000 tonnes from protein
18,100,000 tonnes from carbs

The hungry have a greater need for dietary fat than for protein, in terms of calories. But fat has a higher caloric density, so the value for fat by weight is nearly the same as the value for protein by weight. The value for the amount of carbs needed is nearly the same as for protein, regardless of whether we use calories or grams to make the comparison. Protein and carbs have about the same caloric density. But the percent shortfall in total calories or grams needed is much greater for protein than for carbs.

The human body needs 55% of its calories from carbs and only 15% from protein (and 30% from fat). So the shortfall in needed carbs is only a small percent of the target value for carbs. By comparison, the shortfall in needed protein and fat is a much higher percent of the target value.


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