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Americans Are Made out of Corn

Posted in Balanced Nutrition | August 6, 2009 |

  

This post was written by Anastasiya. Follow me on Twitter or StumbleUpon and keep your life balanced!

Do you remember this nursery rhyme from your childhood?

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Frogs and snails,
And puppy-dogs’ tails;
That’s what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice,
And all that’s nice;
That’s what little girls are made of.

It was one of my favorite nursery rhymes when I was little. I thought it wasreally funny to imagine a little boy with a snail instead of the nose and frogs jumping on his head. And girls in my head always looked like cupcakes or cinnamon bread rolls.

This nursery rhyme came into my head a few days ago and I asked myself “What are guys made of? What are girls made of?” Probably people are made mostly of what they eat today (read You are what you eat). A recent study at the University of California-Berkeley has found what most Americans are made of – CORN. Scientists tested a strand of hair of an average American and the carbon in that hair was 69% from corn. I guess you can say that hair was 69% corn. When they compared it to a strand of hair of an average European – it had only a 5% level of corn.

Americans consume waaaaay too much corn and most of it comes from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that is added into most store-bought goods. There is nothing wrong with corn itself – it’s a natural product that has been present in diets of Americans for many centuries but moderation is the key as usual. Eating a few ears of corn a week, eating grits for breakfast and using corn starch – that’s all natural and does not bring any harm to your body. However when you add corn to any meal that you eat during the day (you can find HFCS in soft drinks, yogurt, bread, cereal, salad dressing and barbecue sauce, cookies, ready-to-eat meals, frozen dinners, ice cream, and a million of other products) you go beyond the limits of moderation.

I almost felt like I was one of those cows that are fed corn to make them fat and big in just a few months. But cows have a mission in their lives: end up on your plate. And farmers who raise those cows also have a mission: to bring those cows to your plate as fast as possible. Nutritionists today say that corn-fed beef is higher in unhealthy saturated fat than grass-fed cows and contains muscle-building hormones whose safety for humans remains under debate. Nobody knows what will actually happen to a corn-fed cow if it’s not killed after it is 15 months old (that’s the average life span of a meat cow). Another thing, it’s not humane to feed cows only corn and to let them spend their entire life (no matter how short t is) in tiny feedlots.

Then why are people fed corn in any way possible? Well first of all it is much cheaper for the food industry to use corn syrup derived products because corn syrup can be transported much cheaper than regular sugar. Most corn syrup is actually transported through large pipes from one place to another which saves the food corporations a lot of money in comparison with paying someone to drive a truck load of sugar somewhere. Secondly, although there is a lot of debate and nothing has been 100% proven in regards to whether a corn-rich diet is unhealthy for humans, it still makes me wonder what this is doing to our bodies. If you follow raw logic wouldn’t you think “A corn-rich diet (cows get 70 to 90% of their calories from corn) is unhealthy and even deadly for cows. Wouldn’t it have the same effect on me?”

These are just a few things to consider the next time that you go to the grocery store. My family is not made out of corn any more. We have eliminated high fructose corn syrup as well as regular corn syrup from our diet and we watch what we eat at all times.

Are you still made out of corn? Make your choice and

Keep your life balanced!

 

Smart Thoughts (2)

  1. Madeleine says:

    Anastasiya,
    A really important and informative post. I’ve also been reading about how high-fructose corn sryrup gets into so many products, like crackers, breakfast cereals, and canned soda. Sometimes there’s also molasses, brown sugar, and other forms of sugar.

    The reason that cows forced to eat corn get sick is that cows are herbivores. In nature, herbivores–such as deer, bison, antelopes, and cows–are grass eaters. Their digestive system has a four-chambered rumen which allows them to digest it.

    There is a fascinating discussion of using corn to raise beef cattle in the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. This book is informative, well-written, and quite disturbing. In fact, about half-way through reading it, I decided that I couldn’t eat beef any more.

  2. Anastasiya says:

    @Madeleine
    I have not read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan but I’ll definitely look at it the next time I am in a bookstore. I am also planning to watch Food Inc. I’ve heard some really good reviews about this movie and I am sure that it will shed more light on what we are fed today. I think it’s really important to be well informed nowadays because this information can literally improve the quality of our life and of course our health.