Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Twinkies, Carrots, and the Farm Bill

While eating lunch, I read this article in the New York Times (click here for a pdf copy). I didn't know how important the Farm Bill is to us. As the author, Michael Pollan, suggests, this bill should really be called a "food" bill because it affects every American.

So read all about it for yourself. And feel free to post your thoughts about this issue on the blog.


mckown said...

I have always been curious about the "farm bill" but have never read it. This article was an eye-opener! The US agricultural policy promotes overproduction of wheat, soy, corn, and rice. It no longer supports the prices nor limits the production. The result is that our food system is full of foods that have added sugars (corn) and fat (soy). So, the price of fruit and vegetables have gone up. This makes it hard for the lower socioeconomic group to purchase low calorie fresh produce. The author purports that this, in and of itself, may be a contributing factor to the increase in obesity in our country.

kimlynch said...

That was a very interesting, but disturbing article. It parallels nicely with some other disturbing facts I was reading in my anatomy & physiology book yesterday. "A century ago, Americans consumed an average of 1.8 kg (4 lb) of sugar per year. Now, with sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup so widely used in foods and beverages, the average American ingests 200 to 300 g of carbohydrate per day and the equivalent of 27 kg (60 lb) of table sugar and 21 kg (46 lb) of corn syrup per year." Additionally, "a typical American consumes 30 to 150 g of fat per day, obtains 40% to 50% of his or her calories from fat, and ingests twice as much cholesterol as the recommended limit." Just so you know, people should not consume more than 30% of their calories from fat, no more than 10% from saturated fat, and no more than 30 g. (Saladin, 2007) This doesn't surprise me one bit how obesity and wealth have a positive correlation, just as Royte pointed out so does trash and consumption and the amount of trash generated. Reading all these facts makes me feel so disgusted that Americans on average are so wasteful and gluttonous. This is also the reason why so many people are having heart attacks at younger and younger ages.

Andrea L. said...

My dad is always commenting that “farming affects everyone’s life.” That’s always something I have rolled my eyes at. After reading about the farm bill, I realized there is truth in what my dad says and that excerpt really provided an example that I can relate to.
I have always said that dieting and being thin is expensive, but never really thought about why. I suppose I thought it was what consumers wanted, convenience foods. But, I have to say I don’t imagine consumers really want small portioned convenience foods packed with tons of calories. Could subsidies for corn and soy farmers really have that big of an impact on what we eat and what they serve our children for school lunches? I suppose the answer is yes. It amounts to the fact that corn and soy are one of the easiest crops to farm.
The biggest problem that I see with it is that there are many Americans who can not afford to feed their children healthily. In addition, their children don’t even get a healthy lunch at school. I know at my school our lunches were not healthy and vending machines were everywhere. It’s really is unfortunate that our children can not get a healthy meal at school.. Years ago the problem was malnutrition with kids, now it’s obesity, and not obesity because of wealth, but because your dollar goes much farther when buying junk food. Last night when watching American Idol they featured a give back special and raised awareness that children in America in extreme poverty are going hungry. Even if children are not going hungry, it is sad that some are not fortunate enough to have the option of getting healthy well balanced meals. One easy way to give back is to call in for your favorite American idol, and sponsors like Coca cola are giving money to charities.