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Can 3D printing enable us to eat healthier

Can 3D printing enable us to eat healthier

UK statistics show that only 25% of adults eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Eating a wide range of fruit and vegetables offers numerous health benefits. High fruit and veg intake is protective against a number of serious, deadly illnesses, including cancer and heart disease. Fruit and vegetables have also be proven to boost mood, with one survey demonstrating that people's happiness was increased with every additional piece of fruit and veg they ate in a day.

Many Benefits

Fruit and vegetables also possess beauty benefits. Researchers found that people eating five a day were considered to have a golden glow rated by participants as more attractive than a beach tan. A high intake of fruit and vegetables also staves off wrinkles, with healthy eaters showing fewer signs of aging. They also possessed finer wrinkles than their fruit and veg starved peers.

The Failure of Healthy Eating Campaign in UK

However, with the “Five a Day” campaign having limited success in the UK, it seems that encouraging people to eat healthier in the Western world is still a challenge. Fortunately, there are a number of technological ventures designed to help us pursue better eating habits. For example, there are several apps that people can now use to track their eating habits, making it easier for them to make changes.

In addition, 3D printing can help people to eat healthier. Dutch designer Chloé Rutzerveld is using 3D printing technology to print healthier snacks, having been approached by research organisation TNO. She explains the concept below:

“As a foodie who loves fresh salads and unprocessed foods, I was very skeptical about printing food. At this point, companies have only succeeded in printing sugar sculptures, chocolate, and other unhealthy sweets, transforming product A into product A with a different shape. I used my skepticism to find answers on how we could use this technology to create natural, healthy, sustainable, and nutrient-rich food.”

The concept, named Edible Growth, allows for ingredients to be added to a 3D printer that would allow the manufacturer to print a pasta or dough base, then fill that base with yeast, spores and seeds. These basic ingredients could potentially grow healthy fruit and vegetables within 5 days, producing healthy snacks quickly and efficiently. The project would also allow for people to customise their own snacks and get access to them quickly.

Although the idea is still confined to the drawing board, Rutzerveld made a mock up of her dough and vegetable combination for consumers to try, and she reports it tasted “amazing”.

Printing our way to Healthier Eating Habits

Rutzerveld’s idea hasn’t yet become reality because 3D printers don’t yet have the capability of printing fresh food. However, she’s confident that one day soon we’ll be able to purchase our own healthy, 3D printed snacks - or even make our own.

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