How Corn Is Expanding Our Waistlines And Crippling Our Health System

killer kernel corn image

Photo credit: Eamon Mac Mahon

Michael Pollan said in the Omnivore's Dilemma that if you eat industrially, you are made of corn. In Corporate Knights, "the magazine for clean capitalism", Toby A.A. Heaps picks up on this theme and looks at the causes and effects of corn's dominance, delivering "the skinny on what's expanding our waistlines and crippling our health system" in his article "Killer Kernel".

Food activist Wayne Roberts calls corn "the most subsidized crop in the world, and it has only negative health consequences." Roberts notes that not only is our food system broken, but our health system too: "We have a health care system that doesn't care about food, and a food system that doesn't care about health."
The quantities of corn that we assume are enormous.

As a professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at University of Virginia, Macko knew the two trillion-plus corn plants grown each year in Iowa--300 for every man, woman and child on the planet--had to be going somewhere. Macko estimates after water, the number one component in humans comes from corn. We're essentially walking corn chips.

The problems that come from such a diet are legion, including diet-related chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and stroke. Yet we keep throwing huge subsidies at corn; The Environmental Working Group pegs U.S. corn subsidies from 1995 to 2009 at us $73 billion, or about $5 billion per year.

The article makes a very clear connection between our health care costs and our agricultural system, which right now are conspiring to either kill us or bankrupt us. Important reading at Corporate Knights.

More on Corn:

Book Review: The Omnivore's Dilemma
Review: King Corn- You Are What You Eat
Peak Everything: Eight Things We Are Running Out Of And Why
More on Wayne Roberts:
Quote of the Day: Wayne Roberts on Food Safety
Book Review: The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food
Give Peas a Chance: How Gardening Can Effect Change

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