There’s a big secret that the U.S. government doesn’t want you to know…and it’s having a huge impact on your health. It has to do with foods keeping you sick.
U.S. Government: A Health Hypocrite?
Here’s the tip-off: the U.S. government issues dietary guidelines, telling you to eat your fruits and vegetables and to make sure these items fill half of your plate, all in the name of better health. Meanwhile, the government is providing hundreds of billions of dollars to subsidize crops that lead to metabolic problems, high cholesterol, type-2 diabetes, and obesity. So what exactly is going on here?
Junk Food: A National Issue
Let’s be honest: junk food is the main source of calories in America, which obviously has a major hand in the fact that nearly three-quarters of Americans are overweight or obese. According to the federal government itself, the top sources of calories in the typical American diet are:
- Grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies, donuts, granola)
- Chicken dishes
- Sugary drinks (soda and sports drinks)
- Tortilla, burritos, tacos
- Beef dishes
- Dairy desserts (ice cream, frozen yogurt, ice cream products)
No vegetables, no healthy fats, and, other than possibly the beef and chicken, no real nutrition. But, you may be asking yourself: what does the U.S. government have to do with this?
U.S. Government-Subsidized Agriculture
All of the foods in the above list are the products of seven types of crops and farm foods: wheat; corn; soybeans; rice; sorghum; milk; and meat.
They are also heavily subsidized by the federal government. Between 1995 and 2010, the government issued $170 billion in subsidies to produce these foods.
Although these crops and farm foods are not inherently unhealthy, the end products they are used for are. Aside from being used for biofuels and industrial purposes, these agricultural items are the ingredients that go directly into cookies, white bread, cakes, sugary beverages, processed foods, refined grains, and other manufactured food items. It’s a huge business. But these foods are also making you unhealthy and keeping you sick.
The Foods Keeping You Sick
In a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers learned that people with the highest consumption of government-subsidized foods had a 37% higher risk of being obese. These folks were also much more likely to have belly fat, abnormal cholesterol, high levels of blood sugar, and inflammatory markers. None of this is good news for your health.
Now, the government does provide subsidies to vegetable, fruit, and nut farmers…but these funds don’t amount to much. According to a recent New York Times report, farmers who provide healthy foods get just 14% of federal subsidies, even though they represent three-quarters of the farmland in the country. On the other hand, producers of the seven crops mentioned above represent about seven percent of cropland, but receive 50% of the funding.
Avoid the U.S. Food Trap
No matter which way you vote in the upcoming election, you’re unlikely to change this reality. Both Republican and Democrat administrations have always renewed the “Farm Bill” every five years (the act that outlines allocations of subsidies). There is too much money and power involved to bring about change, it seems, at least in the near future. However, it is in your power to make healthier choices and consciously avoid the foods that are making you sick and reducing your chance for a long life. Focus on using fresh foods, max out your veggie and fruit intake, and leave those processed foods on the shelf.
Source for Today’s Article
O’Connor, A., “How the Government Supports Your Junk Food Habit,” New York Times web site, July 19, 2016; http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/07/19/how-the-government-supports-your-junk-food-habit/, last accessed July 20, 2016.