If the government had any say, we would all be walking soybeans or ears of corn.
But seriously… Next time you pick up anything remotely processed or packaged, take a look at how laden with corn and soy (or its derivatives) it is. It makes you wonder how these companies can even get away with naming the food anything but.... Granted, the establishment of the industrial agricultural system was not all doom and gloom as it was through this that the aftermath of the Civil War was able to slowly mend. Nonetheless, the inevitable consequences as a result of the synthesis of chemicals and the introduction of commodity products through trade now permeates ever so potently in our modern-day health.
What was birthed from the generation of commodity products grown en masse with the use of herbicides and pesticides? Hyper-palatable, ultra-processed foods sold for cheap to appeal to your twenty-first century highly stressed and highly overworked individual looking for convenience. A 2019 study on 19,899 subjects was conducted to evaluate the correlation between the consumption of “ultra-processed foods” and mortality rate… The outcome of this is pretty self-explanatory, but if statistics tickle your fancy, this study reports a 62% increased risk in mortality rate when 4 or more servings of these foods were consumed per day. These types of foods also comprise nearly 58% of the calories eaten by Americans…. And no, Gina, just because it has the word “organic”, “vegan” or any of those “feel good” words that make you justify the consumption just means that you may be an organic, vegan walking ear of corn…. *slow clap for Gina*
A lot (and one could even argue, most) of the health concerns that the modern world faces stems from our poorly managed agricultural system. America takes the cake on this one and it often makes me wonder if other countries are more attuned to this issue than we are. Chile, for example, has set forth countless regulations to address their obesity rates in both children and adults. Some of these regulations include:
1. Taxing soda (much like that seen on the tobacco industry) which resulted in a stark decrease by 21.6% in monthly purchases of soft drinks for the average household.
2. Implementing warning labels (again, much like that seen on cigarettes) on highly processed, high-sugar content foods such as that seen below labeling the “triple-threat” of high sugar, high saturated fats and high calories.
3. Banning television advertisements of processed foods containing cartoon characters (in hopes of limiting appeal to children) so that Tony the Tiger isn’t leading their children down the yellow brick road to Type II Diabetes and heart disease.
An example of how large agro-industrial conglomerates negatively infiltrate our food system (and therefore our health) can be seen in the non-profit corporation Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN). GEBN was a non-profit organization created to aggregate a handful of scientists to “do research” and encourage (AKA paid them, handsomely) them to report to the public that “a calorie is a calorie” and therefore the source does not matter...... But guess what company funded the GEBN? ….None other than your friendly Coca-Cola. Someone caught wind of this and the GEBN was reported and eventually shut down.
It doesn’t take a high IQ to see through the veil of this buffoonery, but what is disconcerting (and somewhat amusing) is that there are still individuals that believe this theory and are quick to prescribe to certain dogmas without fully researching or understanding where these thought processes even came from…
I often wonder what the long-term resolution might be to these issues, and I always tip my hat to those that go into the policy making route of nutrition as this is an extremely uphill battle. But what can be done on the individual level is to take responsibility for arming ourselves with the proper knowledge and support system; as well as taking a more active & intentional approach to our lifestyle and nutritional choices. After all, making a simple shift of choosing water over soda can pay off dividends for your well-being, doesn’t take much effort or forethought and is a small act of rebellion towards a system that preys our moments of stress and vulnerability.