Although several years old, the video above still speaks the truth because virtually nothing has changed. If anything, the situation has actually worsened. We are producing more of this atrocious food and there are tens of millions more overweight people. Clearly, US farm subsidies are still greatly promoting obesity by lowering the cost of ingredients that go into processed foods—particularly high-calorie processed foods.
How the Food Industry Sabotages Your Health
In this terrific segment, the late Peter Jennings explores how the food industry spends billions of dollars to sabotage your health. He also takes a critical look at the US government’s agricultural subsidy programs, and how they affect your nutritional choices and health.
Heavily subsidized food crops include corn, soy, wheat and rice.
By subsidizing these, particularly corn and soy, the US government is actively supporting a diet that consists of these grains in their processed form, namely high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), soybean oil, and grain-fed cattle – all of which are now well-known contributors to obesity and chronic diseases.
In a nutshell, the American agricultural system promotes and produces junk food, which is the precise converse of what we all need in order to be healthy.
Take HFCS, for example. It’s actually quite difficult to find a processed food product that does NOT include HFCS! And oftentimes it’s one of the top three ingredients. With everything we now know about how HFCS and other sugars create obesity and chronic disease, is it any wonder we have a health care crisis on our hands?
The food industry is quick to point out that the choice is always yours -- they’re not making you buy something you don’t want. But seriously, if you have to hunt high and low to find a product that doesn’t include HFCS, how much of a choice do you have, really?
If you’ve ever tried finding a premade salad dressing for example, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
The industry is also quick to blame the obesity problem on people’s unwillingness to exercise. Naturally, lack of exercise is part of the problem, but to deny the profound impact of farming subsidies and the sheer power of misleading advertising will only lead us further away from the solution.
The High Price of Cheap Food
Well, the answer becomes obvious when you take a look at what foods receive the most subsidies:
- Meat/Dairy -- 73.8 percent
- Grains -- 13.2 percent
- Sugar/Oil/Starch/Alcohol -- 10.7 percent
- Nuts/Legumes -- 1.9 percent
- Vegetables/Fruits -- 0.4 percent
No wonder a Big Mac puts a smaller dent in your wallet than a bowl of salad! That one piece of lettuce you get just might cost as much as the entire meat patty...
Interestingly, the foods receiving the greatest subsidies are the very foods you should be eating the least amount of, according to federal nutrition guidelines. It’s a perfect example of saying one thing but doing another, and then blaming the ill effects on human nature.
The Root of the Problem
I believe many of our society’s chronic health problems could be resolved if attention was paid, at the highest levels of government, to the root problem – our agricultural subsidies.
They could promote the growing and eating of healthier foods like fruits and vegetables by offering greater subsidies, which would significantly drive down the cost of those foods—but they don’t. Instead, US food subsidies have, and still are, creating a diet excessively high in factory-farmed meats, grains and sugars, with very little fresh fruits and vegetables or healthy fats from nuts and seeds.
Part of the problem is that the Department of Agriculture is deeply entrenched with the agri-business, and current legislations protect the profits of these large industries at the expense of public health.
In fact, the agriculture lobby is more powerful than even the pharmaceutical industry!
Even more disturbing, this influence also reaches into the very science of nutrition.
It is actually not designed to help you make sound dietary choices but rather to allow food companies to make health claims to increase profits, and this is a primary reason why you cannot get sound dietary advice from your government!
A perfect example of this is the New Food Pyramid. Back in 2005, when the updated food pyramid was unveiled, nutritionist Luise Light, a former USDA insider and contributing architect of the original version of the Food Guide Pyramid, exposed how the US government bows to industry interests and plays a key role in the obesity epidemic.
There’s no doubt that the farm bill creates a negative feedback loop that maintains the status quo of the standard American diet. And unless, or until, the food policy is addressed and corrected, little progress will be made to improve the current health care crisis on a grand scale.
Misleading Advertising Abound
Incredibly, the food industry actually spends TWICE as much money on advertising as the drug industry does. Every day, you and your children are being brainwashed to choose highly processed, denatured convenience foods that will accelerate your path towards death and disease.
The drug industry then picks up where they leave off, pushing drugs to control the symptoms created by a junk food diet...
It’s truly a symbiotic relationship made in hell.
Fast food and processed food usually tastes very good to most as it is has been carefully engineered and designed to do so. It is also relatively inexpensive, so for many, especially in a depressed economy, this has become an easy choice.
Pay less and get better tasting food, what could be simpler?
This is likely why 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food goes toward processed foods.
What people fail to factor in, however, is that they will almost certainly pay a heavy price for this choice in the long run -- both literally and figuratively. Subsisting on “junk” foods alone is a surefire way to accelerate your aging process and compromise your health.
Changing Your Mindset about Food
There is just no way around it -- if you want your family to be healthy, someone in your household, or someone you pay, must invest some time in the kitchen preparing your food from scratch, using fresh, whole ingredients.
Avoiding processed food requires a change in mindset, which is not always an easy task. It CAN be done, however. Rather than looking at processed foods as a convenience that tastes good, try thinking of it as:
- Extra calories that will harm your body.
- A toxic concoction of foreign chemicals and artificial flavors that will lead to disease.
- A waste of your money.
- Likely to lead to increased health care bills for you and your family.
- Not something to give to children, whose bodies are still developing and in great need of nutrients.
Your goal should be to strive for 90 percent non-processed, whole food. Not only will you enjoy the health benefits—especially if you buy mostly organic—but you’ll also get the satisfaction of knowing exactly what you’re putting into your body, and that in and of itself can be a great feeling.
Choose Health Over “Convenience”
If you want to optimize your health, you simply must return to the basics of healthy food choices. And, as more and more people begin to grasp this concept and demand healthy, unadulterated foods, the more must be produced, one way or another.
This is why I strongly encourage you to support small family farms in your area. You’ll receive nutritious food from a source you can trust, and you’ll not only be supporting the health of your own family but the health of your entire community.
However, there is still much confusion about what is “healthy,” and in some cases, whether or not something is actually food!
Please understand that the easiest way to get confused and be led astray is by listening to food advertisements, which usually focuses on individual (added) ingredients or nutrients rather than the food as a whole.
For example, what good will a beverage that contains green tea do if it’s loaded with high fructose corn syrup?
Ditto for cereal boasting to be made with whole grains but contains more sugar in one serving than a donut...
The easiest way to take control of your health through your diet is by focusing on WHOLE, unadulterated foods, meaning foods that have not been processed or altered from their original state. Additionally, I encourage you to seek out organically grown foods, to avoid exposure to pesticides and fertilizers.
Ideally, you’ll also want to determine your nutritional type and eat accordingly, to truly optimize your health and well-being.
Eating a diet of processed foods while popping vitamins and supplements, thinking you’re getting everything you need for health, is a reckless miscalculation that will extract its true cost in the form of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Remember, any amount of time and money you save today by stopping at a fast food restaurant, you’re bound to repay later in the form of medical bills and poor quality of life.
If there are no healthy choices available to you, for whatever reason, most of the time you will be FAR better off fasting until you can have access to healthy choices.