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Following the Industrial Food Chain – Are You Bowing to the King of Corn?
Aside from salt and chemical food additives, most of what is in supermarkets has to do with food that starts with a plant, animal or creature from the sea. In the produce industry, even the fish and meat department, it is easy to trace the origin of the food that is offered for purchase.
It is not a processed food. The industrial food that now feeds most of us most of the time — either in the grocery store or in restaurants — leads to the American Corn Belt.
It comes down to food — the very things that make up the corporate food that feeds our fast-paced world. Corn is grown on 80 million acres of US land and has replaced wheat as the largest government subsidy for American farmers. Why do we grow corn like this? Because of the many ways it can be transformed into our food.
For example, corn now feeds an eagle that turns into your prey. Therefore, eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt are now associated with corn. They also feed pork, turkey, lamb. Unbelievable as it sounds, fish, natural animals, are being reprogrammed to eat corn in fish farms.
Processed food offers many manifestations of corn. Consider the chicken: the chicken was fed corn; modified corn starch holds the nugget together; corn flour is in the batter; and fried in corn oil.
The drink most often served in fast food restaurants is soda, loaded with HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), a highly processed corn sweetener.
Consider the following list of food additives, and you will see that corn is everywhere – in modified or unmodified starch; in sugar water, maltodextrin, crystalline fructose and ascorbic acid; in lecithin, dextrose, lactic acid and lysine; in maltose MSG and polyols, caramel color and xanthan gum.
Therefore, corn is in soups, snacks, desserts, frozen yogurt, coffee brighteners, salad dressings – even in vitamins! And you’ll also find corn products that aren’t food – from toothpaste and cosmetics, to trash bags and disposable diapers.
It is important to note that corn is not a vegetable. It is a grain, or carbohydrate and, therefore, corn is high in sugar. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is very high in carbohydrates/sugar to begin with, and corn is one of the main causes of the rising obesity and diabetes epidemic.
It’s hard to escape the ‘Corn King.’ If you eat processed or fast food, know that you are eating corn in one of the many products.
And it’s no wonder that when Native Americans were taught corn, changing from a hunter’s diet to a corn diet, their bones, teeth and joints began to deteriorate.
The disadvantages of corn growth in the Standard American Diet are approaching a litany. It is also important to understand that corn is second only to soybeans as a genetically modified (GM) crop in the US.
GM foods, foods derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), were introduced in 1995, and unfortunately, no studies have yet been conducted with people to show what happens when these types of foods are consumed over time.
You can never go wrong with food that looks like food. Avoid all processed and fast foods. Eat a little. If you eat meat, look for grass-fed, and always avoid farmed fish. Get into the habit of reading nutrition labels carefully. With a little effort you can avoid becoming a citizen of the Corn King.
For more information (both fascinating and terrifying) on the foods that sustain us – and a clearer picture of how Americans eat – from source to plate, wrapper or Big Gulp – Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and reading a lot
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