November 16, 2008

The Real Enemy? Corn

By admin

According to this article , research efforts related to the impact of corn on our society are difficult, stymied by the fast food industry and generally unpopular within the academic circles.

For years now, chickens and cows have been force-fed a food product that isn’t even part of their original diet.  With cows, the effect of eating corn is particularly disturbing:

Corn fattens up cows prior to slaughter at a higher rate than grass, their natural diet, but it also causes them a number of health problems. Cows’ stomachs in particular do not react well to corn – it makes them susceptible to the deadly bacteria E. coli – so their feed has to be spiked with antibiotics to prevent them from getting sick.

What’s more, most corn is not grown for direct consumption:

Of the more than 263 million bushels of corn produced in this province this year, 55 to 60 per cent of it will go to make to animal feed, 15 to 20 per cent will become ethanol, and much of the rest is used to manufacture, yes, the ubiquitous corn sweeteners found in soft drinks and snacks. (The iconic, butter-smeared, sweet cobs most of us picture when we think of corn accounts for only a tiny, specialized sliver of corn production in North America.)

More about the original article can be found here .  It’s titled "Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes in fast food: Signatures of corn and confinement" and was published by A. Hope Jahren of the University of Hawaii.  I tried to get a copy, but couldn’t quite figure out the downloading process.

This type of research describes what many are discovering:  that meat is murder, to borrow a headline from The Smiths.  While it’s hard for me to pulll away from meat completely, my family has basically banned most of the things that corn is over-used for in North America:

  • Fast food from leading sources (MacDonald’s, Wendys, Burger King, Harvey’s)
  • A lot of processed food (things like pre-made chicken fingers)
  • Soda pop
  • Other snacks that are loaded with high-fructose corn syrup
  • Ethanol (which I call ‘euthanol’ because it’s a fuel that’s going to kill us if we let it)

Of course, this research now has me doing a double-take on the classic promotional tidbit that came with ‘good’ meat:  grain fed and free range.

I should have always known this, but they both seem more like lies.