Corn (Seriously)

Whenever the topic of corn comes up in conversation (which is kind of unusual to begin with), most people seem very surprised to learn about its downside and never really considered that a basic food they have eaten since childhood could ultimately be a major contribution in bringing down the United States.

Corn itself is fairly innocuous, and there is admittedly nothing inherently wrong with it. But the United States has a bizarre agricultural policy that has inordinate amounts of corn being grown and used for all kinds of products it has no business being in. Most people at this point are familiar with high fructose corn syrup in sodas, though it is also in over a quarter of the products you can purchase in any major supermarket. Good luck trying to buy bread without some type of corn syrup in it. You can generally assume anything that tastes the slightest bit sweet or at one point in time would have used sugar now has corn syrup, and there is a reasonably good chance even if it’s not sweet. It masquerades under a variety of chemical sounding names in an many household products, such as corn derived glycerin which is found in most soaps.

Why do we produce so much corn and put it in so many things? For some reason, corn farmers receive billions of dollar in government subsidies to keep growing more of a crop we don’t really need. So basically we are devoting an unbelievable amount of farmland to grow corn that government and industry continue to invent uses for and sell to us in all kinds of products we’d never suspect. This in itself is pretty terrible. Each acre of corn-field loses 5-10 tons of topsoil each year, and 3-6 pounds of soil are eroded away for every pound of corn produced. When you think about the United States already having to import food (other than corn) combined with global population growth, you’d think that we are probably going to want that farmland at some point later.

But we are not just destroying the farmland. Corn is continually being genetically modified for a variety of shady purposes, and it all ends up unspecified in pretty much the same places. Even if it weren’t genetically modified it would be bad to feed your body that much of one thing, not to mention the fact we don’t digest corn particularly well to begin with. But most factory farmed animals in this country (which means most of the meat we consume) are fed corn despite the fact their digestive systems completely reject it. The way to get animals like cows to be able to eat the corn, which is probably genetically modified and covered in pesticide, is to pump them full of antibiotics and hormones, all of which ends up in us when we eat meat. So next time you are washing down a burger with a delicious cola, consider all that to be a part of the value meal.