Chapter 6: The Consumer

Notes:

  • Corn Whiskey – superabundant, cheap, drink of choice, in the 1820s the typical American was drinking half a pint a day (more than five gallons a year)
  • The Elevenses – “modern coffee break” — late-morning whiskey break
  • Effects of the consumption – rise of public drunkenness, violence, family abandonment, increase in alcohol-related diseases
  • Over production of corn lead to manufacturing whiskey
  • Obesity – most pressing health issue, costing the health care system approximately $90 billion per year
  • 3 of every 5 Americans are overweight
  • 1 of every 5 Americans is obese
  • Explanation – changes in lifestyle, poverty, affluence, technology, marketing, changes in diet
  • Corn accounts for most of the surplus calories we are eating
  • 530 million bushels of corn harvested each year — 17.5 billion pounds of high fructose corn syrup
  • Thrifty Gene – hunter/gatherer ancestors to feast whenever they were able to, allowed them to build up reserves of fats against future famine
  • Type II Diabetes – occurs when the body’s mechanism for managing glucose simply wears out from overuse

Response:

Chapter 6 highlights the problems associated with one of the most overproduced crops, corn. Corn as well as soybeans are the most inexpensive raw materials to produce.  Since corn is so cheap, it is heavily overproduced and turned into high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is found in almost every product placed on the shelves in the grocery stores. It has become a main source of sweetener in processed foods and the amount that is consumed on an annual basis is disgusting to me. High fructose corn syrup has been a leading contributor to many health issues such as obesity and diabetes. Both of these health issues result from over-consuming energy-dense foods such as corn. It saddens me that our food industry is just so disgusting and horrible. Everything processed has loads of chemicals and unhealthy ingredients. All of the processed foods are usually a lot cheaper and more accessible so it makes those struggling financially turn to unhealthy habits. As a whole, we need to make smarter choices in regards to food options, stay away from processed foods or consume less, and to come up with better alternatives for those that are in need.

 

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