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Basic concept of food science

【Eatology】

As a discipline of the 21st century, eatology is an entirely new knowledge system and the general term for all human cognition of eatage. There has never been a discipline that could cover all human cognition of eatage. Without being confined by the modern disciplinary system, eatology, for the first time, summarizes food production, food utilization, and eation order into one holistic system, thus ending human’s segmented cognition of eatage and facilitating a revolution in the inefficient management of eatage. Eatology, from a higher perspective, observes the objective reality between human beings and food, between human beings and food maternity systems, and between food and the world order, and finds the rules behind it. It is a golden key to solve eatage problems.

Today, people are still quite unfamiliar with “eatology”, and have many misconceptions about its logical structure, research scope, and existence value. I am often asked two questions: “Is eatology bromatology or food culturology?” and “what is the relationship between eatology, agronomy, and medical science?” My answer is that eatology is a broader body of knowledge. For example, agronomy and food science are just two different aspects of food production; nutriology and dietary therapy in medical science cover two aspects of food utilization; and food culturology and food economics deal with two aspects of eation order, etc. All of them illustrate certain aspects but not all human cognition of eatage. Eatology covers all eatage cognition including the above-mentioned aspects, which not only clarifies their intrinsic relationship but also identifies their own essential characteristics and fills in many gaps. It can also be understood in this way: eatology is an expansion of agronomy from the perspective of “eatage” which is a larger system. Eatology is a general summary of all human cognition of eatage, whose overall value is greater than the sum of parts.

Before giving an accurate definition of “eatology” (食学, Shi Xue), it is necessary to first analyze two Chinese characters—“eat”(食, Shi) and “-ology”(学, Xue) —from the perspective of source and Chinese meaning so as to better understand the concept of eatology and to have discussions from the four dimensions of relationship, function, essence, and occurrence.

Chinese Meaning of “Eat”

The Chinese character “食” (eat) is both a noun and a verb. In Origin of Chinese Characters, “any substance that contains six grains is food (食)”; in History of Han Dynasty—Biography of Li Yiji, “the top priority of the public is food (食)”. “食” in this context refers to human food, while the verb “食” has the same meaning as the English word “eat”. Given the nature of gerund of “食” in Chinese which expresses both “eat” and “food”, “食” covers a wide range of content, and thus is frequently used.

Chinese Meaning of “-ology”

The Chinese character “学” (-ology) is also both a noun and a verb. Its verb means to study, learn, and acquire knowledge, as explained in the Ancient Chinese Language (Guang Ya): “学 means know” and the Interpretation of The Ancient Book (Shang Shu Da Zhuan): “Learn.” Its noun refers to knowledge and discipline, as illustrated in the Ancient Chinese Language—Shishi: “学 means discipline” and the Book of Later Han—Biography of Heroines: “Accumulating knowledge.”

Meaning of “Eatology”

Since both “eat” and “-ology” can be used as a noun and verb in Chinese, there are four meanings of the word “eatology”. (1) verb “eat” + noun “-ology”, meaning the study and discipline of eating; (2) noun “eat” + noun “-ology”, meaning the study and discipline of food; (3) verb “eat” + verb “-ology”, meaning eat to learn which is of no practical meaning; and (4) noun “eat” + verb “-ology”, meaning food learns which is of no practical meaning. The third and fourth meaning of eatology will not be considered and the first and second meaning will be discussed in this book. The second one, the study and discipline of food has a relatively narrow range, covering only study on food, which cannot be used to refer to the eation system. The first one, the study and discipline of eating by adopting the verbal meaning of “eat” can be extended to cover a lager range. I, therefore, choose the first meaning for the purpose of covering all behaviors related to food in addition to table manners (see Table 1-1).

Creation of “EATOLOGY”

In the book Introduction to Eatology, I coined an English word EATOLOGY. Some people asked me why I created a completely new word instead of using terms that already exist like Food Science or Eat-Science. First of all, since eatology is not a study of food, it is not appropriate to use the term Food Science. Second, as eatology not only includes the study on table manners, but also covers all disciplines related to food production, food utilization, and eation order, using the name Eating-Science will cause ambiguity. It is, therefore, necessary to create a special word to convey the concept of eatology more accurately.

Definition of Eatology

From the above discussions, it can be found that eatology is not a study of food, or eating, or eating culture. In order to know what eatology is, it is necessary to develop a definition of “eatology” as a concept of discipline to specify its connotation and extension. That is to say, I would like to use concise and accurate words to identify the objects of the study of “eatology” as a discipline. To this end, I would define “Eatology” as following and discuss it from four dimensions. Eatology is a discipline that studies eatage and its laws, especially the occurrence, development and evolutionary laws of human eation, and the relationship and laws between people and food, aiming to solve eatage issues of individuals and human beings. From the perspective of relationship. Eatology is a discipline that studies the relationship between people and food, in another word, a discipline that studies the relationship between man and nature in the process of human diet. Eatology is a discipline that studies the relationship and laws between people and food, and a science that studies the relationship and laws between people and ecology from the perspective of eatage. From the perspective of function. Eatology is a discipline that studies and solves eatage problems. It is developed due to the existence of various eatage issues and difficulties, and the only reason for the existence of eatology is to better tackle these problems. From the perspective of essence. Eatology is a discipline that studies human eatage cognition and its laws as well as the energy conversion between man and nature. It is a system of strict logic that consists of a series of concepts and judgments on human eatage cognition. Human survival relies on energy support. Food is the medium for energy conversion between humans and the natural world. Eation is the way to obtain energy from food. From the perspective of occurrence. Eatology is a discipline that studies the occurrence, development and evolutionary laws of human eation, which not only explains the panoramic view of human eation system, but also reveals the microscopic mystery of food. It is therefore a discipline that studies the relationship between eation and food with human survival and health at the center. The purpose of discussing the definition of eatology from four perspectives is to enable us to more accurately understand and grasp its concept. The above elaborations have different focuses. Among them, the elaboration that “eatology is a discipline that studies the relationship and laws between people and food” succinctly and accurately reveals the essential connotation of the “eatology” research object, which is in line with the current conventions of discipline definition. The elaboration that “eatology is a discipline that studies the occurrence, development and evolutionary laws of human eation” clarifies the essential characteristics and nature of this discipline, and identifies the direction, content and tasks of research into it.

【Eatology Triangle】

The triangular structure of eatology, referred to as the eatology triangle, consists of three aspects: food production, food utilization, and the eation order. It is the basis for us to understand and develop the eatology system.

Figure 1-2 Eatology Triangle

In figure 1-2, utilization (food utilization) refers to the process and efficiency from orally taking food to excreting waste matter from the body. Although this journey inside the human body is less than 20 meters, there are still great unknown mysteries to be revealed. Studying this area will help humans improve health and increase longevity. Production (food production) refers to all industries related to food production including agriculture, food industry, catering industry, etc. This area involves a number of industries ranging from food source to dining table, accounting for over 40% of the global GDP. Studying this area helps us ensure the quality and quantity of human food. The eation order mainly refers to the coordination of two major contradictions: first, coordinating the contradiction and conflict between food production and food utilization; second, coordinating the contradiction and conflict between humanity and ecology. The eation order involves a number of aspects including administration, law, education, efficiency, etc. Studying this area will help us develop eation rules for a sustainable human society and achieve harmony between humans and ecology, between people, and between food production and food utilization. It can be found from Figure 1-3 that food utilization, being an essential part, is supported and influenced by food production and the eation order. The purpose of food production is food utilization. An essential part is food quality and quantity. The eation order is a way of supporting food utilization and aims to guide people to live a long and healthy life. The primary goal of regulating and controlling food production is to guarantee that each generation is able to enjoy long and healthy life by achieving harmonious relationships between people, between people and society, and between humanity and ecology. Prior to the introduction of eatology triangle, researches on food production, food utilization and eation order were extremely uneven with more emphasis on food production and less on food utilization and eation order, which is the root cause of many eatage problems faced by humanity today. While conducting in-depth and comprehensive research in the field of food utilization is the best choice to increase longevity of individuals, carrying out in-depth and comprehensive research on the eation order is a magic weapon to solve major problems between people and between population and ecology. Previously, these three areas were believed to be of no relationship with each other. However, once they are put together in this triangular structure, it can be identified that each of them occupies a place in this structure and forms a certain relationship with each other. However, there are still many gaps to be closed.

【The Eatology 3-32 System】

The basic system of eatology includes three level-two subjects and 32 level-three subjects, covering all basic aspects of eatology discipline (see Figure 1-3). Three level-two subjects include food production science, food utilization science, and eation order science. Thirty-two level-three subjects include: 16 disciplines under food production science—food maternology, food picking science, food hunting science, food gathering science, food fishing science, food-oriented planting science, food-oriented animal farming science, food cultivation science, food synthesis science, food culinary science, food fermentation science, food disintegration science, food storage science, food transportation science, food packaging science, and eation appliance science; nine disciplines under food utilization science—food character science, food element science, eater organ science, eater sign science, eating methodology, dietary aesthetics, and dietary conditioning and treatment science, herbal dietary therapy, synthetic dietary therapy; and seven disciplines under eation order science—eation economics, eation administration, eation law, eatedu , eation customs science, eation philology and eation history.

Figure 1-3 Basic system of eatology Relationship between Eatology and Existing Related Disciplines

Eatology does not contradict existing disciplines related to food and eating, but include them. For instances, agronomy and food science are included in food production science, and nutriology is included in food utilization science. In addition, eatology clearly identifies the nature of each discipline and settles the conceptual issues of existing disciplines. For examples, the boundaries of modern agronomy are unclear; the establishment of food science is based on products, rather than principle and essence; and there is an issue of overgeneralization in nutriology (see Figure 1-4).

Figure 1-4 Relationship between eatology and existing related disciplines 【Eatage】

Eatage refers to eating-related matters within the framework of Etology. In specific, it refers to all matters related to human beings’ eating-related behaviors and their outcomes. It is the source and also an important part of human civilization. Except for multiplying and breeding, the life of ancient human beings was almost all about eatage. Multiplying and breeding also contained a lot of eating-related contents like the feeding of babies. However, when it came to eatage, people tended to narrow the scope and considered that only what was associated with the dining table belonged to eatage. Such a definition has been greatly expanded through eatology, which, by integrating food production, food utilization and the eation order of human beings, defines eatage as all matters related to human beings’ eating-related behaviors and their outcomes. This not only broadens the definition. Its significance lies in the fact that the integration of food production, food utilization and eation order into eatage is more conducive to the understanding and grasp of human’s eations.

【Eatage Cognition】

Eatage cognition refers to human cognition of eatage. Eatage is of objective existence, while eatage cognition is of subjective cognition. It is where human wisdom began. Eatage cognition is handed down in two ways: by word of mouth and in the form of records. There are many kinds of recording media for eatage cognition, from ancient rock paintings of foods and the acquisition of food, to texts in later stages, and then to today’s digital multimedia. Like eatage, eatage cognition also covers three areas: food production, food utilization, and eation order. For a long time, human’s eatage cognition has existed in profuse and fragmented states, and the task of eatology is to integrate them and discover the misunderstandings and gaps therein.

【Food】

The food mentioned in Eatology system refers specifically to any human food that is taken orally for the purpose of maintaining people’s life and health. food is classified into five categories: fungi, plants, animals, minerals (water, salt, etc.), and synthetic food. The first four categories are natural food, including “herbs” as in traditional Chinese medicine. The fifth category is non-natural food, which is the extension of the food definition. Food additives and oral medicines also fall under the category of synthetic food, as they are taken orally for the purpose of maintaining people’s life and health. In another word, they meet the two conditions required to be regarded as food. However, synthetic food, as an outsider and latecomer of the food chain, is not a kind of traditional food enjoyed by human beings. Although they are strikingly different from natural food and many people have difficulty accepting this expanded concept of food, the fact that they enter and affect the human body through oral intake is unquestionable.

【Food Maternity System】

The food maternity system (FMS) refers to the system of nurturing food, defined from the perspective of the source of human food, expressing the relationship between food nurturing and mankind. All human beings share one food maternity system which is the root of the community with shared future for mankind. The food maternity system consists of the inorganic system and the organic system. The inorganic system includes water, salt, air, temperature, etc. while the organic system includes microorganisms, plants, animals, and the like. The magnificent food maternity system has nurtured 107.6 billion people over the past 5.5 million years, and feeds 7.63 billion people today. Disrupted by human activities, expansion of cities, severe pollutions of air, water, and soil as well as the intensification of the greenhouse effect, our food maternity system is becoming increasingly vulnerable. The normal operation of the food maternity system is the guarantee for the sustained supply of human food and the basis for the continuation of human populations. The overall or partial imbalance of the food maternity system will directly threaten human survival. Any behavior and action that pollute the inorganic system and interfere with the organic system, regardless of eation or non-eation, will cut people off the source of food and bring ruins upon human beings.

【Eation】

Eating-related behavior (Eation) includes food production behavior, food utilization behavior, and food order behavior (as shown in Figure 1-2). The reason why this concept is developed is that it is an important object of eatology research and covers “all behaviors related to human eating”. I coined the English word Eation instead of Eat-action in that the latter only reflects table manners, not all eating-related behaviors. Eation not only refers to table manners, but includes all eating-related behaviors of human beings, both direct and indirect. Behaviors directly related to eating involve searching food, picking, hunting, fishing, culturing, cultivating, planting, grazing, transportation and storage of food, controlling and selling food, purchasing and cooking food, orally taking and chewing food, while behaviors indirectly related to eating involve eating-related economics, administration, law, and education. The establishment of this concept is conducive to our comprehensive understanding of this object.

【Eation System】

The eation system (ES) refers to the overall operating mechanism of human eation. The eation system is a main component of human society and a collection of all human behaviors with the purpose of satisfying people’s desire for food and eating. It is objective and constantly changing. From the perspective of people’s survival and continuation, this system is way much more significant than other human behavior systems. The eation system, from small to large, from fragmental to complete, from disorder to order, has experienced six gradual transitions as follows. First, the individual eation system, a micro-system, refers to the overall operating mechanism of an individual’s eation that happens every day, each year and throughout his whole life. Second, the family eation system refers to the overall operating mechanism of all family members’ eation. Third, the national eation system refers to the overall operating mechanism of eation happening within nations. Fourth, the country-based eation system refers to the overall operating mechanism of the country-based eation, which is a relatively closed system. Fifth, the regional eation system refers to the overall operating mechanism of eation happening within a certain region. One country opens its door to another usually for the reason of food and thus a regional eation system within a larger area is developed. Sixth, the global eation system refers to the overall operating mechanism of the eation of all human beings. With the gradual increase in food exchanges between different countries and regions, especially since the 16th century, the discovery of the New World, colonization and liberalized trade has accelerated the evolution of the global eation system.

【Food-conversion】

Food-conversion (FC) refers to the whole process of converting food into body energy and composition as well as excreta. Since the concept of “digestion” already exists, why is this new concept created? While digestion which is based on the knowledge of modern medicine, from the perspective of the human body, focuses on the body’s digestion process, food-conversion which is based on the understanding of all fields, from the perspective of food, emphasizes the process where food is converted. The FC concept covers more aspects than the digestion concept. The purpose of establishing the FC concept is to better study the laws according to which food is converted and to improve food utilization. Food-conversion mainly consists of four dimensions. First, body composition. Food is converted into the body’s own composition. Second, energy release. Food is converted into energy for the body to use. Third, information transmission. Food, as a medium between human and nature, transmits certain biological information which we know little about. Fourth, excreta. Metabolites are excreted from the body after food is absorbed and utilized by the body. For example, the “sugar” in food after metabolism and energy production will be excreted from the body in the form of CO2 and H2O, and nitrides, the metabolites of protein, will be excreted from the body in urine, etc. (see Figure 1-5).

Figure 1-5 Food-conversion dimensions 【Food-conversion System】

The food-conversion system (FCS) refers to the overall mechanism of the whole process where food is converted into body composition, energy to be released and waste to be excreted from the body, including digestion, absorption, utilization, excretion, release, etc. (as shown in Figure 1-6). It is both a working system of several organs engaging in food-conversion and an existing system of the entire body. Our research on food-conversion system aims to explore human life system from the perspective of food. The food-conversion system has a long history. Its formation can be dated back to the age of anthropoids about 25 million years ago. This system was formed much earlier than the human brain intelligence system. Due to people’s neglect of the importance of the food-conversion system, today our knowledge of the food-conversion system is far behind that of the brain intelligence system. The food-conversion system is the cornerstone of human survival, health and longevity. However, up until today, there are still many unknown aspects of the food-conversion system, such as abdominal brain cells, intestinal flora, and overall mechanisms. As it directly influences each individual’s health and longevity, it is therefore significant for humankind to further study and understand this system, and take the initiative to grasp and follow its internal laws. Each individual human being is a complete and natural food-conversion system, which means that currently there are 7.63 billion food-conversion systems on the earth and the number will grow to 10 billion if the world population rises to 10 billion. From a microscopic point of view, none of the 7.63 billion food-conversion systems are identical, and evident differences exist between individuals. However, such difference serves as a key to unlocking the secrets of a healthy life of each individual.

Figure 1-6 Food-conversion system 【Eating Sphere Triangle】

Human eation is an objective existence. In order to thoroughly understand it, the first thing to be tackled is to identify the foundation of its existence, the eating sphere. It is a world including all the things relate to eating. The eating sphere consists of three systems: food maternity system, food-conversion system and eation system. While the food maternity system and the food-conversion system are operating mechanisms of nature, the eation system is of the operating mechanism of the human society. A correct understanding of the relationship between these three systems is an important pillar of the establishment of eatology discipline system. From a historical point of view, the formation of the Phanerozoic Eon ecosystem happened about 540 million years ago, during which five massive species extinctions occurred. Today’s food maternity system was formed about 65 million years ago, the formation of the food-conversion system was 40 to 50 million years ago, and the human (ape-men) eation system was formed about 5.5 million years ago. It can be found that the human eation system was developed over 10 times later than the food maternity system and food-conversion system. This context is a premise of our study and understanding of these three systems and their relationship. From the perspective of composition, while the food maternity system and the food-conversion system are objective, eation system is subjective. The food maternity system is a large “holistic system,” the food-conversion system is a “collective system” consisting of 7.63 billion small systems, and the eation system is a “layered system” ranging from small to large.From the perspective of relationship, the essential relationship between the three systems is that eation system takes food from the food maternity system and supplies to the food-conversion system which utilizes the food. Then food waste and human corpses return back to the food maternity system (as shown in Figure 1-7). The above-mentioned indicates that 7.63 billion food-conversion systems share one food maternity system through the eation system. Although we are different in individual, family, regional, national interests as well as family, regional, national, and racial culture, we share common interests and culture in the context of food maternity system. It can be said that human beings share one “food maternity system”, which is the cornerstone of the “community with shared future for mankind” theory. The food maternity system, food-conversion system and eation system form an eating sphere triangle. While the food maternity system and the food-conversion system are of natural attributes, the eation system bears social nature. These three are interrelated and inseparable.

Figure 1-7 Eating Sphere Triangle

Basic concept of food science

【Eatology】

As a discipline of the 21st century, eatology is an entirely new knowledge system and the general term for all human cognition of eatage. There has never been a discipline that could cover all human cognition of eatage. Without being confined by the modern disciplinary system, eatology, for the first time, summarizes food production, food utilization, and eation order into one holistic system, thus ending human’s segmented cognition of eatage and facilitating a revolution in the inefficient management of eatage. Eatology, from a higher perspective, observes the objective reality between human beings and food, between human beings and food maternity systems, and between food and the world order, and finds the rules behind it. It is a golden key to solve eatage problems.

Today, people are still quite unfamiliar with “eatology”, and have many misconceptions about its logical structure, research scope, and existence value. I am often asked two questions: “Is eatology bromatology or food culturology?” and “what is the relationship between eatology, agronomy, and medical science?” My answer is that eatology is a broader body of knowledge. For example, agronomy and food science are just two different aspects of food production; nutriology and dietary therapy in medical science cover two aspects of food utilization; and food culturology and food economics deal with two aspects of eation order, etc. All of them illustrate certain aspects but not all human cognition of eatage. Eatology covers all eatage cognition including the above-mentioned aspects, which not only clarifies their intrinsic relationship but also identifies their own essential characteristics and fills in many gaps. It can also be understood in this way: eatology is an expansion of agronomy from the perspective of “eatage” which is a larger system. Eatology is a general summary of all human cognition of eatage, whose overall value is greater than the sum of parts.

Before giving an accurate definition of “eatology” (食学, Shi Xue), it is necessary to first analyze two Chinese characters—“eat”(食, Shi) and “-ology”(学, Xue) —from the perspective of source and Chinese meaning so as to better understand the concept of eatology and to have discussions from the four dimensions of relationship, function, essence, and occurrence.

Chinese Meaning of “Eat”

The Chinese character “食” (eat) is both a noun and a verb. In Origin of Chinese Characters, “any substance that contains six grains is food (食)”; in History of Han Dynasty—Biography of Li Yiji, “the top priority of the public is food (食)”. “食” in this context refers to human food, while the verb “食” has the same meaning as the English word “eat”. Given the nature of gerund of “食” in Chinese which expresses both “eat” and “food”, “食” covers a wide range of content, and thus is frequently used.

Chinese Meaning of “-ology”

The Chinese character “学” (-ology) is also both a noun and a verb. Its verb means to study, learn, and acquire knowledge, as explained in the Ancient Chinese Language (Guang Ya): “学 means know” and the Interpretation of The Ancient Book (Shang Shu Da Zhuan): “Learn.” Its noun refers to knowledge and discipline, as illustrated in the Ancient Chinese Language—Shishi: “学 means discipline” and the Book of Later Han—Biography of Heroines: “Accumulating knowledge.”

Meaning of “Eatology”

Since both “eat” and “-ology” can be used as a noun and verb in Chinese, there are four meanings of the word “eatology”. (1) verb “eat” + noun “-ology”, meaning the study and discipline of eating; (2) noun “eat” + noun “-ology”, meaning the study and discipline of food; (3) verb “eat” + verb “-ology”, meaning eat to learn which is of no practical meaning; and (4) noun “eat” + verb “-ology”, meaning food learns which is of no practical meaning. The third and fourth meaning of eatology will not be considered and the first and second meaning will be discussed in this book. The second one, the study and discipline of food has a relatively narrow range, covering only study on food, which cannot be used to refer to the eation system. The first one, the study and discipline of eating by adopting the verbal meaning of “eat” can be extended to cover a lager range. I, therefore, choose the first meaning for the purpose of covering all behaviors related to food in addition to table manners (see Table 1-1).

Creation of “EATOLOGY”

In the book Introduction to Eatology, I coined an English word EATOLOGY. Some people asked me why I created a completely new word instead of using terms that already exist like Food Science or Eat-Science. First of all, since eatology is not a study of food, it is not appropriate to use the term Food Science. Second, as eatology not only includes the study on table manners, but also covers all disciplines related to food production, food utilization, and eation order, using the name Eating-Science will cause ambiguity. It is, therefore, necessary to create a special word to convey the concept of eatology more accurately.

Definition of Eatology

From the above discussions, it can be found that eatology is not a study of food, or eating, or eating culture. In order to know what eatology is, it is necessary to develop a definition of “eatology” as a concept of discipline to specify its connotation and extension. That is to say, I would like to use concise and accurate words to identify the objects of the study of “eatology” as a discipline. To this end, I would define “Eatology” as following and discuss it from four dimensions. Eatology is a discipline that studies eatage and its laws, especially the occurrence, development and evolutionary laws of human eation, and the relationship and laws between people and food, aiming to solve eatage issues of individuals and human beings. From the perspective of relationship. Eatology is a discipline that studies the relationship between people and food, in another word, a discipline that studies the relationship between man and nature in the process of human diet. Eatology is a discipline that studies the relationship and laws between people and food, and a science that studies the relationship and laws between people and ecology from the perspective of eatage. From the perspective of function. Eatology is a discipline that studies and solves eatage problems. It is developed due to the existence of various eatage issues and difficulties, and the only reason for the existence of eatology is to better tackle these problems. From the perspective of essence. Eatology is a discipline that studies human eatage cognition and its laws as well as the energy conversion between man and nature. It is a system of strict logic that consists of a series of concepts and judgments on human eatage cognition. Human survival relies on energy support. Food is the medium for energy conversion between humans and the natural world. Eation is the way to obtain energy from food. From the perspective of occurrence. Eatology is a discipline that studies the occurrence, development and evolutionary laws of human eation, which not only explains the panoramic view of human eation system, but also reveals the microscopic mystery of food. It is therefore a discipline that studies the relationship between eation and food with human survival and health at the center. The purpose of discussing the definition of eatology from four perspectives is to enable us to more accurately understand and grasp its concept. The above elaborations have different focuses. Among them, the elaboration that “eatology is a discipline that studies the relationship and laws between people and food” succinctly and accurately reveals the essential connotation of the “eatology” research object, which is in line with the current conventions of discipline definition. The elaboration that “eatology is a discipline that studies the occurrence, development and evolutionary laws of human eation” clarifies the essential characteristics and nature of this discipline, and identifies the direction, content and tasks of research into it.

【Eatology Triangle】

The triangular structure of eatology, referred to as the eatology triangle, consists of three aspects: food production, food utilization, and the eation order. It is the basis for us to understand and develop the eatology system.

Figure 1-2 Eatology Triangle

In figure 1-2, utilization (food utilization) refers to the process and efficiency from orally taking food to excreting waste matter from the body. Although this journey inside the human body is less than 20 meters, there are still great unknown mysteries to be revealed. Studying this area will help humans improve health and increase longevity. Production (food production) refers to all industries related to food production including agriculture, food industry, catering industry, etc. This area involves a number of industries ranging from food source to dining table, accounting for over 40% of the global GDP. Studying this area helps us ensure the quality and quantity of human food. The eation order mainly refers to the coordination of two major contradictions: first, coordinating the contradiction and conflict between food production and food utilization; second, coordinating the contradiction and conflict between humanity and ecology. The eation order involves a number of aspects including administration, law, education, efficiency, etc. Studying this area will help us develop eation rules for a sustainable human society and achieve harmony between humans and ecology, between people, and between food production and food utilization. It can be found from Figure 1-3 that food utilization, being an essential part, is supported and influenced by food production and the eation order. The purpose of food production is food utilization. An essential part is food quality and quantity. The eation order is a way of supporting food utilization and aims to guide people to live a long and healthy life. The primary goal of regulating and controlling food production is to guarantee that each generation is able to enjoy long and healthy life by achieving harmonious relationships between people, between people and society, and between humanity and ecology. Prior to the introduction of eatology triangle, researches on food production, food utilization and eation order were extremely uneven with more emphasis on food production and less on food utilization and eation order, which is the root cause of many eatage problems faced by humanity today. While conducting in-depth and comprehensive research in the field of food utilization is the best choice to increase longevity of individuals, carrying out in-depth and comprehensive research on the eation order is a magic weapon to solve major problems between people and between population and ecology. Previously, these three areas were believed to be of no relationship with each other. However, once they are put together in this triangular structure, it can be identified that each of them occupies a place in this structure and forms a certain relationship with each other. However, there are still many gaps to be closed.

【The Eatology 3-32 System】

The basic system of eatology includes three level-two subjects and 32 level-three subjects, covering all basic aspects of eatology discipline (see Figure 1-3). Three level-two subjects include food production science, food utilization science, and eation order science. Thirty-two level-three subjects include: 16 disciplines under food production science—food maternology, food picking science, food hunting science, food gathering science, food fishing science, food-oriented planting science, food-oriented animal farming science, food cultivation science, food synthesis science, food culinary science, food fermentation science, food disintegration science, food storage science, food transportation science, food packaging science, and eation appliance science; nine disciplines under food utilization science—food character science, food element science, eater organ science, eater sign science, eating methodology, dietary aesthetics, and dietary conditioning and treatment science, herbal dietary therapy, synthetic dietary therapy; and seven disciplines under eation order science—eation economics, eation administration, eation law, eatedu , eation customs science, eation philology and eation history.

Figure 1-3 Basic system of eatology Relationship between Eatology and Existing Related Disciplines

Eatology does not contradict existing disciplines related to food and eating, but include them. For instances, agronomy and food science are included in food production science, and nutriology is included in food utilization science. In addition, eatology clearly identifies the nature of each discipline and settles the conceptual issues of existing disciplines. For examples, the boundaries of modern agronomy are unclear; the establishment of food science is based on products, rather than principle and essence; and there is an issue of overgeneralization in nutriology (see Figure 1-4).

Figure 1-4 Relationship between eatology and existing related disciplines 【Eatage】

Eatage refers to eating-related matters within the framework of Etology. In specific, it refers to all matters related to human beings’ eating-related behaviors and their outcomes. It is the source and also an important part of human civilization. Except for multiplying and breeding, the life of ancient human beings was almost all about eatage. Multiplying and breeding also contained a lot of eating-related contents like the feeding of babies. However, when it came to eatage, people tended to narrow the scope and considered that only what was associated with the dining table belonged to eatage. Such a definition has been greatly expanded through eatology, which, by integrating food production, food utilization and the eation order of human beings, defines eatage as all matters related to human beings’ eating-related behaviors and their outcomes. This not only broadens the definition. Its significance lies in the fact that the integration of food production, food utilization and eation order into eatage is more conducive to the understanding and grasp of human’s eations.

【Eatage Cognition】

Eatage cognition refers to human cognition of eatage. Eatage is of objective existence, while eatage cognition is of subjective cognition. It is where human wisdom began. Eatage cognition is handed down in two ways: by word of mouth and in the form of records. There are many kinds of recording media for eatage cognition, from ancient rock paintings of foods and the acquisition of food, to texts in later stages, and then to today’s digital multimedia. Like eatage, eatage cognition also covers three areas: food production, food utilization, and eation order. For a long time, human’s eatage cognition has existed in profuse and fragmented states, and the task of eatology is to integrate them and discover the misunderstandings and gaps therein.

【Food】

The food mentioned in Eatology system refers specifically to any human food that is taken orally for the purpose of maintaining people’s life and health. food is classified into five categories: fungi, plants, animals, minerals (water, salt, etc.), and synthetic food. The first four categories are natural food, including “herbs” as in traditional Chinese medicine. The fifth category is non-natural food, which is the extension of the food definition. Food additives and oral medicines also fall under the category of synthetic food, as they are taken orally for the purpose of maintaining people’s life and health. In another word, they meet the two conditions required to be regarded as food. However, synthetic food, as an outsider and latecomer of the food chain, is not a kind of traditional food enjoyed by human beings. Although they are strikingly different from natural food and many people have difficulty accepting this expanded concept of food, the fact that they enter and affect the human body through oral intake is unquestionable.

【Food Maternity System】

The food maternity system (FMS) refers to the system of nurturing food, defined from the perspective of the source of human food, expressing the relationship between food nurturing and mankind. All human beings share one food maternity system which is the root of the community with shared future for mankind. The food maternity system consists of the inorganic system and the organic system. The inorganic system includes water, salt, air, temperature, etc. while the organic system includes microorganisms, plants, animals, and the like. The magnificent food maternity system has nurtured 107.6 billion people over the past 5.5 million years, and feeds 7.63 billion people today. Disrupted by human activities, expansion of cities, severe pollutions of air, water, and soil as well as the intensification of the greenhouse effect, our food maternity system is becoming increasingly vulnerable. The normal operation of the food maternity system is the guarantee for the sustained supply of human food and the basis for the continuation of human populations. The overall or partial imbalance of the food maternity system will directly threaten human survival. Any behavior and action that pollute the inorganic system and interfere with the organic system, regardless of eation or non-eation, will cut people off the source of food and bring ruins upon human beings.

【Eation】

Eating-related behavior (Eation) includes food production behavior, food utilization behavior, and food order behavior (as shown in Figure 1-2). The reason why this concept is developed is that it is an important object of eatology research and covers “all behaviors related to human eating”. I coined the English word Eation instead of Eat-action in that the latter only reflects table manners, not all eating-related behaviors. Eation not only refers to table manners, but includes all eating-related behaviors of human beings, both direct and indirect. Behaviors directly related to eating involve searching food, picking, hunting, fishing, culturing, cultivating, planting, grazing, transportation and storage of food, controlling and selling food, purchasing and cooking food, orally taking and chewing food, while behaviors indirectly related to eating involve eating-related economics, administration, law, and education. The establishment of this concept is conducive to our comprehensive understanding of this object.

【Eation System】

The eation system (ES) refers to the overall operating mechanism of human eation. The eation system is a main component of human society and a collection of all human behaviors with the purpose of satisfying people’s desire for food and eating. It is objective and constantly changing. From the perspective of people’s survival and continuation, this system is way much more significant than other human behavior systems. The eation system, from small to large, from fragmental to complete, from disorder to order, has experienced six gradual transitions as follows. First, the individual eation system, a micro-system, refers to the overall operating mechanism of an individual’s eation that happens every day, each year and throughout his whole life. Second, the family eation system refers to the overall operating mechanism of all family members’ eation. Third, the national eation system refers to the overall operating mechanism of eation happening within nations. Fourth, the country-based eation system refers to the overall operating mechanism of the country-based eation, which is a relatively closed system. Fifth, the regional eation system refers to the overall operating mechanism of eation happening within a certain region. One country opens its door to another usually for the reason of food and thus a regional eation system within a larger area is developed. Sixth, the global eation system refers to the overall operating mechanism of the eation of all human beings. With the gradual increase in food exchanges between different countries and regions, especially since the 16th century, the discovery of the New World, colonization and liberalized trade has accelerated the evolution of the global eation system.

【Food-conversion】

Food-conversion (FC) refers to the whole process of converting food into body energy and composition as well as excreta. Since the concept of “digestion” already exists, why is this new concept created? While digestion which is based on the knowledge of modern medicine, from the perspective of the human body, focuses on the body’s digestion process, food-conversion which is based on the understanding of all fields, from the perspective of food, emphasizes the process where food is converted. The FC concept covers more aspects than the digestion concept. The purpose of establishing the FC concept is to better study the laws according to which food is converted and to improve food utilization. Food-conversion mainly consists of four dimensions. First, body composition. Food is converted into the body’s own composition. Second, energy release. Food is converted into energy for the body to use. Third, information transmission. Food, as a medium between human and nature, transmits certain biological information which we know little about. Fourth, excreta. Metabolites are excreted from the body after food is absorbed and utilized by the body. For example, the “sugar” in food after metabolism and energy production will be excreted from the body in the form of CO2 and H2O, and nitrides, the metabolites of protein, will be excreted from the body in urine, etc. (see Figure 1-5).

Figure 1-5 Food-conversion dimensions 【Food-conversion System】

The food-conversion system (FCS) refers to the overall mechanism of the whole process where food is converted into body composition, energy to be released and waste to be excreted from the body, including digestion, absorption, utilization, excretion, release, etc. (as shown in Figure 1-6). It is both a working system of several organs engaging in food-conversion and an existing system of the entire body. Our research on food-conversion system aims to explore human life system from the perspective of food. The food-conversion system has a long history. Its formation can be dated back to the age of anthropoids about 25 million years ago. This system was formed much earlier than the human brain intelligence system. Due to people’s neglect of the importance of the food-conversion system, today our knowledge of the food-conversion system is far behind that of the brain intelligence system. The food-conversion system is the cornerstone of human survival, health and longevity. However, up until today, there are still many unknown aspects of the food-conversion system, such as abdominal brain cells, intestinal flora, and overall mechanisms. As it directly influences each individual’s health and longevity, it is therefore significant for humankind to further study and understand this system, and take the initiative to grasp and follow its internal laws. Each individual human being is a complete and natural food-conversion system, which means that currently there are 7.63 billion food-conversion systems on the earth and the number will grow to 10 billion if the world population rises to 10 billion. From a microscopic point of view, none of the 7.63 billion food-conversion systems are identical, and evident differences exist between individuals. However, such difference serves as a key to unlocking the secrets of a healthy life of each individual.

Figure 1-6 Food-conversion system 【Eating Sphere Triangle】

Human eation is an objective existence. In order to thoroughly understand it, the first thing to be tackled is to identify the foundation of its existence, the eating sphere. It is a world including all the things relate to eating. The eating sphere consists of three systems: food maternity system, food-conversion system and eation system. While the food maternity system and the food-conversion system are operating mechanisms of nature, the eation system is of the operating mechanism of the human society. A correct understanding of the relationship between these three systems is an important pillar of the establishment of eatology discipline system. From a historical point of view, the formation of the Phanerozoic Eon ecosystem happened about 540 million years ago, during which five massive species extinctions occurred. Today’s food maternity system was formed about 65 million years ago, the formation of the food-conversion system was 40 to 50 million years ago, and the human (ape-men) eation system was formed about 5.5 million years ago. It can be found that the human eation system was developed over 10 times later than the food maternity system and food-conversion system. This context is a premise of our study and understanding of these three systems and their relationship. From the perspective of composition, while the food maternity system and the food-conversion system are objective, eation system is subjective. The food maternity system is a large “holistic system,” the food-conversion system is a “collective system” consisting of 7.63 billion small systems, and the eation system is a “layered system” ranging from small to large.From the perspective of relationship, the essential relationship between the three systems is that eation system takes food from the food maternity system and supplies to the food-conversion system which utilizes the food. Then food waste and human corpses return back to the food maternity system (as shown in Figure 1-7). The above-mentioned indicates that 7.63 billion food-conversion systems share one food maternity system through the eation system. Although we are different in individual, family, regional, national interests as well as family, regional, national, and racial culture, we share common interests and culture in the context of food maternity system. It can be said that human beings share one “food maternity system”, which is the cornerstone of the “community with shared future for mankind” theory. The food maternity system, food-conversion system and eation system form an eating sphere triangle. While the food maternity system and the food-conversion system are of natural attributes, the eation system bears social nature. These three are interrelated and inseparable.

Figure 1-7 Eating Sphere Triangle