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Feds Subsidized Poor Nutrition

old message Feds Subsidized Poor Nutrition Darrell Miller 10/29/05


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Date: October 29, 2005 01:54 PM
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Subject: Feds Subsidized Poor Nutrition

Feds Subsidized Poor Nutrition

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) this year issued a new food pyramid aimed at convincing Americans to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins such as dairy, meat and beans. While the USDA publicizes its pyramid with much fanfare, the agency implements policies that subsidize the consumption of nutrition-poor, high fat and processed foods, while offering no incentive to farmers to grow healthful crops.

The Pyramid Versus Farm subsidies

A recent Associated Press (AP) article* contrasted the pyramid recommendations with a breakdown of this year’s $17 billion in direct subsidies to farmers.

  • Corn and feed grains constitute 43% of subsidies. Critics point out that subsidized corn oil used to fry fast food burgers; thickeners and starches for processed food; and corn feed for cattle—which is unsuited for the cow’s digestive system, resulting in illness and reliance on antibiotics.
  • The next most-subsidized food crop are soybeans and wheat (9% each). Soybeans are a source of hydrogenated oil that gives a flaky texture to commercial pastries, and of livestock feed, which further promotes meat consumption.
  • Wheat, while a healthful grain, has become so ubiquitous in our diet that many individuals have developed sensitivities to that staple.
  • Tobacco, with its well-known harmful effects, also receives 9% of farm subsidies.
  • Other food crops receive less than 1% each, and fruit and vegetables receive none.

    Overproduction Leads to Lower Prices

    U.S. farm policy leads to the overproduction of nutrition-poor, fat and starch-laden foods. As a result, the prices of these foods go down, while healthy food remains less affordable.

    A related AP story describes the barriers faced by poor families who would prefer a more nutrition’s diet but end up eating cheap, unhealthy food. Adam Drewnowski, director of the University of Washington’s Center of public Health Nutrition is quoted: “Energy-dense foods rich in starch, sugar or fat are the cheapest option. As long as the healthier lean meats, fish and fresh produce are more expensive, obesity will continue to be a problem for the working poor.”

    Food Policy and the wellness Revolution

    With obesity and related health problems at a crisis point, some consumer advocates are trying to change our government’s food policies. An effective response to the current dietary crisis requires political charge as well as education about healthy lifestyles. Meanwhile, it is a wise strategy for individuals to develop a personal, nutritional supplement regimen. The centerpiece of this program should be a scientifically advanced and comprehensive multiple such as Source Naturals Life Force.



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